Wittliff Collections acquires Stevie Ray Vaughan music archive

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | March 11, 2022

black and white photo of stevie ray vaughan

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University has acquired a significant archive of the late, legendary blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The SRV archive, obtained from a private collector, is a major addition to the Texas Music Collection at The Wittliff, which already boasts archives from Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Cindy Walker and Asleep at the Wheel. The Wittliff is home to more than 500 historic literary, photographic, film and music collections, including one of the largest known collections of Tejano music materials and memorabilia in existence.

The new SRV collection offers intimate insights into the life and career of the famed guitarist in three distinct arenas: songwriting, recovery and the complicated relationship with his brother, musician Jimmie Vaughan. A selection of items from the archive will go on display for the first time in the upcoming exhibition, "The Songwriters: Sung and Unsung Heroes of the Collection" which opens this spring in the Texas Music Gallery.

Vaughan died on Aug. 27, 1990, in a helicopter crash in Wisconsin at the age of 35.

black hat with silver medallions

Included in the acquisition are such artifacts as the iconic black hat and conch belt worn during Vaughan's 1984 Carnegie Hall concert, his tall suede boots with buckskin fringe and favorite moccasins, his pipe and flask and his guitar strap.

Historians, researchers, students and the public will soon be able to access the bulk of the SRV materials, which includes rare photographs, handwritten lyrics, production notes, studio lyric boards, tour books, drawings, personal journals and tapes.

The collection offers new insights into Vaughan's mindset when it comes to understanding how important his recovery and spirituality were near the end of his life, and how overcoming his alcohol and drug addictions wasn’t easy. A 6-inch by 9-inch notepad documents such moments:

"One of the great values of meditation is that it clears the mind. And as the mind becomes clearer, it becomes more capable and willing to acknowledge the truth."

In another notebook, Vaughan writes: "Today I start anew . . . burdens that I carry around in shame and guilt."The Wittliff Collections is located on the seventh floor of Texas State’s Albert B. Alkek Library in San Marcos. Exhibition hours, directions, parking information are online. For more information, visit www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu.

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About The Wittliff Collections

The Wittliff Collections is dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the cultural legacy of the Southwest’s literary, photographic and musical arts, and to fostering the region’s “Spirit of Place” in the wider world. The Wittliff hosts readings, artist talks, lectures and other events; presents major exhibitions year-round from its holdings; and makes its collections available to statewide, national and international researchers.

Visitors, tours, and classes are welcome. Admission is free.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922