Grand Ole Opry Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0178

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of a wide variety of items of historical and musical interest. The correspondence dates roughly from the 1950s and 1960s and varies from fan letters to promotional campaigns. Clippings from the same time profile performers and personalities, the Opry, and the music industry in Nashville. The files include a representative collection of country and western magazines.

Songbooks comprise a significant proportion of the collection. Most of them date from the 1930s and 1940s. They include a good, though incomplete, collection of songbooks by Ernest Tubb. Many other performers are also represented.

Grand Ole Opry programs are available from 1961 to 1967 with some gaps. There are a large number of news releases under the title Here's News About WSM's Grand Ole Opry as well as news releases on a variety of performances.

Photographs highlight the Grand Ole Opry Collection. Pictures range from publicity shots to candid photographs of performances and tours. The cast of the Grand Ole Opry is recorded in pictures from several decades.

Unique items in the collection include the original layouts for some promotional materials and taped interviews with George D. Hay, Loretta Lynn, and Tex Ritter with Audie Murphy.

Dates

  • 1930s-1960s

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact specialcollections@vanderbilt.edu.

Extent

2.94 Linear Feet (7 Hollinger boxes)

Abstract

This collection, donated in 1967 by Jesse Wills, is composed of a wide variety of items of historical and musical interest, including songbooks, correspondence, photographs, and other unique items. As president of National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the parent company of WSM, Inc. and the Grand Ole Opry, Wills had access to a wide variety of material associated with country music in general and the Grand Ole Opry in particular.

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Grand Ole Opry Collection was donated by Jesse Wills, president of National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the parent company of WSM, Inc. and the Grand Ole Opry. As president, Wills had access to a wide variety of material associated with country music in general and the Grand Ole Opry in particular. A collection of this material was donated by Jesse Wills in May of 1967 with additional items being given in July of 1968. The six boxes of material in the Grand Ole Opry Collection are complemented by the WSM Radio and TV collection, also donated to Vanderbilt Special Collections by Mr. Wills.

Missing Correspondence

Incoming Correspondence listed in the original register and found missing in May of 1983. The original folder was probably marked "4-11 Correspondence-Incoming." It was from Box 1 of the collection.

11 September 1966. Mrs. L.H. to Mr. Williams. Handwritten and signed

31 March 1928. Mrs. G. Banfield to WSM. Handwritten and signed. Fan letter.

28 October 1928. Thomas W. Bentley to Mr. Andrews. Handwritten and signed. Fan letter.

3 July 1961. Patsy Cline to Trudy [Stamper]. Handwritten and signed.

8 April 1960. Irene Hicks to Trudy [Stamper]. Handwritten and signed.

No date. Irene HIcks to ? Handwritten and signed. Written on a newspaper.

December, ? John Parrish and Babe Parrish to Tom Andrews. Handwritten and signed. Fan letter.

24 May 1965. John Zasoba to Mr. Williams. Handwritten and signed. Fan letter.

23 June 1965. Jimmy Pope to Grand Ole Opry. Handwritten and signed. Fan letter.

Title
Finding Aid for the Grand Ole Opry Collection
Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

Requesting Materials

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