The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University’s Alkek Library has acquired an extensive collection of iconic singer, songwriter and bandleader Willie Nelson’s recordings and papers.
Acquired from a fan and consummate collector of Nelson’s work, John Kalinsky, the collection spans 1954 to 2010 and contains 877 recordings, including 45s, LPs, audio cassettes, VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs. These materials represent a significant addition to the Wittliff’s Willie Nelson holdings of handwritten song lyrics, screenplays, letters, concert programs, tour itineraries, posters, articles, clippings, personal effects, and memorabilia reflecting Nelson’s success as a concert artist, as well as a handmade songbook created by Nelson when he was around eleven years old.
Featuring recordings under Nelson’s leadership as well as tracks on which he is a producer, guest musician, or songwriter, the collection represents Nelson’s enormous output and collaboration with various musicians. The oldest recordings are two 45s by Dave Isbell from 1954, on which Nelson plays guitar, released by Sarg Records, a small label from Luling. The collection also contains Nelson’s first single released under his own name, “No Place for Me” backed with “Lumberjack,” recorded in Vancouver, Wash., while Nelson was working as a disc jockey.
Also included are deluxe-edition CDs of Nelson’s classic albums as well as box sets with extensive liner notes, recording and session information, and previously unreleased performances. There are also live recordings, including a DVD documentary on Willie’s 4th of July Picnic in 1974—a carnival-like affair emceed by Leon Russell with performances by Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and others.
With this new acquisition, the Wittliff Collections become the nation’s primary repository of Willie Nelson materials.
A Guide to the Willie Nelson Collection, 1975-1994, n.d. (not including new acquisitions):
Inventory Acquisition: donated by Willie Nelson, Bill and Sally Wittliff, and Jody Fischer from 1988 through 1995.Access: Direct inquiries to the Archivist, Southwestern Writer’s Collection, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas 78666-4604Processed by: Gwyneth Cannan, February 1995; Inventory revised by Brandy Harris, 2005.