Texas State’s Wittliff Collections acquires Stevie Ray Vaughan archive

Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University.

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

Photographs, handwritten lyrics, production notes, studio lyric boards, tour books, drawings, personal journals and tapes, are include in the archive which was obtained from a private collector.

The materials also include 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.

A selection of Vaughn items 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.

The Vaughn archive adds to the Wittliff’s Texas Music Collection which includes those of  Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Cindy Walker and Asleep at the Wheel, as well as one of the largest known collections of Tejano music materials and memorabilia.

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 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.”

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

Stevie Ray Vaughn
A telegram from 1987 informing Stevie Ray Vaughn that his record “The Flood” has gone gold. The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University.