Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

John Boswell:

An Inventory of His Papers, 1935-2013, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Boswell, John
Title: John Boswell Papers,
Dates: 1935-2013
Abstract: The collection is focused on the military and musical careers of John Darlowe Boswell, including paperwork, sheet music, recordings and ephemera.
Collection # AV 0180
Quantity: 5 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Language English.
Repository: Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Biographical Sketch

The folksinger-songwriter John Darlowe Boswell was born in Oregon on March 2, 1944, to musical parents and a Gibson-picking grandfather. Cousin to noted guitarist John Standefer, he attended Lubbock High School and Texas Tech, where he played trombone in the Goin' Band, was assistant director, and worked with the Men's Glee Club. He joined the US Navy, training in underwater demolition and graduating from Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Boswell led clandestine reconnaissaince missions in Vietnam and was deeply affected by his experience there. In 1969 he served on the Apollo 10 recovery team, but was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He performed at Disneyland and was a Capitol Records production assistant in Los Angeles. In the 1980s Boswell played with the band Native Land, then later ran away with the Culpepper and Merriweather Great Combined Circus, headquartered in Cave Creek, Arizona. For 30 years, however, Bosell was most known as a peripatetic folk music performer, doing odd jobs and traveling the US and Canada while living in a 1968 GMC truck he called "Old Blue".

In 2000 he claimed to have visited and performed in all 50 states. Boswell died March 23, 2013.

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials relating to John Boswell, his family, travel and career, as well as his medical disability and relations with the Veterans Administration. It includes sheet music, original song lyrics, recording media and extensive correspondence. The collection is in good condition, except as noted, and is part of the Crossroads of Music archive.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by U.S. copyright law. Audio and visual recordings may need to be reformatted prior to use and require advance notice to the Reference Librarian.

Index Terms

The subject headings used by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library are derived from the Library of Congress and/or locally developed.
Subjects (Persons)
Barlow, John Darlowe.
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014.
Subjects (Places)
Lubbock (Tex.)
Contemporary Christian music.
Folk music.
Folk music--Texas.
Itinerant artists.
Male singers--United States.
Scuba divers.
Veterans as artists.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Veterans--United States--Biography.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John Boswell Papers, 1935-2013, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas


Gift, 2015

Processed by

Jon Holmes

Collection Inventory


box folder
1 1 Autobiography, 2009 and undated
2 Awards, 1970
box folder
1 3 John Boswell, 1992-2003
4 Boswell: teacher certifications, 1973-1990
5 Boswell: Texas Tech/Texas Women's University/University of Texas-Austin transcripts, 1962-1966
6 Pete Seeger, 1979
Business Records
box folder
1 7 Aloha Shiny Windows, 2002
8 Native Land charitable trust, 1981-1991
9 Calendars and contact lists, 1973-2004
10 Certificates: PADI scuba courses, 1990-1992
box folder
1 11 Moe Asch/Folkways, 1979
12 Larry Barber, 1998
13 Daniel Bolling, 2002-2006
14 Aubrey Boswell, 1988 and undated
15 Kathy Griffin, 1996-1997
16 Christmas cards, 2003-2006
17 Christmas cards, 2007
18 Christmas cards, 2008
19 Christmas cards, 2009
20 Family, 1978-2007
21 Gregory Moore, undated
22 Lili Vandrveken Saels, 1989-2003
23 Pete Seeger, 2000-2007
24 US Department of Veterans Affairs, 1967-2004
25 Various, 1977-2010
Divorce Records
box folder
2 1 John and Janis Boswell, 1971-2005
2 John and Jerry Boswell, 1974
3 Equipment records, 2001-2004
Event Records
box folder
2 4 Baylor University Middle East Tour, 1963
5 Owl's Head Hootenanny (Maine), 2002
6 Posters and artwork, 1971-2004
Financial Records
box folder
2 7 Bank accounts, 2000-2004
8 Insurance, 2004
9 Songwriting royalties (BMI), 1999-2001
10 Tax returns, 1988-2004
Literary Works
box folder
2 11 Boswell lyrics and notes (See also sheet music.), 1971-2007
12 Boswell notebooks, 1974-2009
13 Boswell spiritual writing, 2009 and undated
14 Boswell: "The Victory Run", 2003
15 James Hunniford productions, 2003-2006
16 John Henry Levacy, Jr. productions, 2013
17 Various authors, 2010
18 Medical records, 1986-2004
19 Newspaper clippings, 1975-2011
Obituaries and Eulogies
box folder
2 20 Aubrey Boswell, 1988
21 Billie Louise Boswell, 2004
22 John Boswell, 2013
23 Organization records: UDT-11 (US Navy underwater demolition team), 1992-2008
box folder
2 24 Hawaii, undated
25 Various, 1973-2000
Printed Materials
box folder
2 26 Boswell business cards, undated
27 Non-Boswell business cards, undated
28 Folk festival publications, 1999-2001
29 Nikonos underwater camera manuals, undated
30 Production notes: Passin' Through CD, 1999-2000
box folder
3 1 Various, undated
Sheet Music
box folder
3 2 John Boswell: "America--Proud Lady"; "As I Lay"; "Bread in This House"; "Bring Back My Buddy to Me"; "Brotherhood of Man"; "California Waters"; "Cold Winds Blowin'"; "Having a Good Time"; "Hobo's Love Song"; "I Don't Have to Love you, Girl"; "I'm Loving You", 1970-1996
3 John Boswell: Copyright records [includes research material, DBA records, BMI contracts, unopened self-mailed envelopes, certificates of registration--also American Federation of Musicians contract form for Johnny Cash signed by agent Stew Carnall, 1970-1999
4 Various authors [includes autographic and electrostatic copies of songs, many water-damaged], undated
5 Songbooks: Army Hit Kit of Popular Songs; Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar (Book 1) [Lewis]; Grecos: The Flamenco Guitar [Sam Fox Publishing]; KISH Scales and Studies for Guitar; Nick Manoloff's Modern Spanish Guitar Solos [M. M. Cole]; Nick Manoloff's Spanish Guitar Method [M. M. Cole]; Diller-Page: A Pre-School Music Book [G. Schirmer]; Peter, Paul and Mary: Album 1700 [Pepamar Music]; Russell-Lovewell: Songs of South Street--Street of Ships [Chanteyman Press]; Segovia: Diatonic Major and Minor Scales [Columbia Music]; Sing Them Over Again [Missionary Church of God]; Sweetland: Spanish Guitar Course [Belwin] [many torn or water-stained], 1935-2001
box folder
3 6 Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum, Inc. (catalog, Wilcox), undated
7 Maryl Barker and Peder J. Heineman: PADI Medic First Aid Medical Emergency Manual (Emergency Medical Planning, Inc., Eugene, Oregon), 1986
8 Robert Boom and Jerry Kringel: Hawaiian Seashells (Boom Enterprises, Honolulu, back cover torn), 1972
9 John Boswell: autographic journal, 2010
10 Joseph Devlin: A Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms (Popular Library, New York, water-stained), 1961
11 Ford Econoline Owner's Guide (cover torn), 1981
12 Howard Hall: Howard Hall's Guide to Successful Underwater Photography: A New Approach (Marcor Publishing, Port Hueneme, California, water-stained), 1987
13 Handbook for Boys (Boys Scouts of America, New York), 1948
14 Frederick C. Hatfield: Aerobic Weight Training (Contemporary Books, Chicago), 1983
15 Herman Hosier and Ernie Payne: Haven of Rest: Radio Favorites (Rodeheaver Company, Hollywood, California), 1963
16 Lingo of the Sea (Ship's Trumpet Publishing, Huntington Beach, California, water-stained first edition), 1972
17 Watchman Nee: The Release of the Spirit (Christian Fellowship Publishers, Richmond, Virginia), 2000
18 Overseas Employment Opportunities for Educators (Department of Defense Dependents Schools), 1985-1986
19 Lana Robinson: The Best of Little Spouse on the Prairie (Bedford House, Bedford, Texas, autographed), 1993
20 The Skipper's Course CG-433 (Department of Transportation / US Coast Guard, cover stained), 1973
21 Ralph Weiman and O. A. Succar: Common Usage Dictionary, Spanish-English and English-Spanish (Crown Publishers, New York, cover torn), 1955
22 John Wolfram: Splashdown: The Rescue of a Navy Frogman (Entryway Marketing, autographed), 1984


box folder
4 1 Red paisely bandana (21.5 inches square), undated
2 State flag of Arizona (60x36 inches, stained), undated
3 UDT-Seal Association logo baseball cap (tan), undated
4 John Boswell logo T-shirt (white, man's Large), undated
5 Levi's denim pants (embroidered, with custom bell-bottom beaded insert, ripped), undated
6 Wooden cross (5x9.5 inches, hand-painted with mottoes), undated
7 Van Dyck cigar box (torn), undated
8 Cloth bag containing Canadian coins, undated
0 Canadian flag embroidered patches (2 copies, 4x2 inches), undated
11 Canadian flag embroidered patch (2x1 inches), undated
12 Camp Post Texas Boy Scoutembroidered patch (3 incles square), undated
13 American flag (10x7 inches, stained), undated
14 Chrome-plated business card holder, undated
15 Great Britain flag shield pin, undated
16 IANC bronze pin attached to T. A. Boswell, United Airlines business card, undated
17 Red cloissone guitar pin, undated
18 Mother-of-pearl banjo pin, undated
19 Marksmanship badge for small-bore rifle, undated
20 Necklace of seed pods, undated
21 Necklace of blue faience beads, undated
22 Black branch coral fragment (6 inches), undated
23 Cowrie shell (1 inch), undated
24 Heart-shape locket (gold in metal box from Brussels), undated
25 Small plastic case containing postage stamps, coins, beads, seashells, blue cloissone shark pin, pen knife, guitar picks, undated
26 Small plastic case containing plastic beads, bronze safety pin, undated
27 Wooden business card stand with fish logo and "VLW" wood-burning, undated
28 Various small items (tie bars and clasp, sea glass, nal clippers, sleigh bells, mechanical pencil, undated
29 WFHB-FM Community Radio bumper sticker, undated

Oversized Materials

box folder
1 0 John Boswell poster (8.5x12.5 inches, black offset on tan, 7 copies--2 damaged), undated
8 John Boswell poster (8.5x13.5 inches, hand-drawn ink on white), undated
9 "Un Sourire" poem (10x12.5 inches, black and gilt on white hand-made paper), undated
10 Johnny and the Hot Gilas poster (9.25x14.5 inches, hand-lettered on poster board), undated
11 Mixmaster's Hard Rock Café 1st Annual Folk Festival (Lubbock) poster (11x17 inches, brown offset on white, autographed), undated
12 Culpepper and Merriweather Circus poster (11x17 inches 4-color offset on with with overprint for Buckeye Elementary PTA), undated
13 Fringe (Santa Fe art tabloid), June 2004

Audio Visual Materials

12-inch 33-1/3 rpm LP records
box item
5 1-6 John Boswell: Friendship Album (Roadside Records R-0176, 6 copies), 1976
7 Pat Gatti: Someone…Somewhere (PG Record and Music Company 0698), 1975
8 Pete Seeger: The World of Pete Seeger (CBS, Inc. CG 31949), 1972
Audio cassette tapes
box item
4 1 Living Language Series: German Tape 1, Lessons 1-32 (copy tape), undated
2 Living Language Series: German Tape 2, Lessons 33-70 (copy tape), undated
3 Living Language Series: German Tape 3, Lessons 71-84 (copy tape), undated
4 [Unidentified]: Borrowed Time (Song assortment copy tape), undated
1/4x7-inch Reel-to-reel tapes
box item
4 1 John Boswell: [Unidentified](AV0180-001), undated
2 John Boswell: "Just Say Aloha", "In Hawaii", "The Folksinger" (recorded at Russound Productions)(AV0180-001), 1995
1/4x10-inch Reel-to-reel tapes
1 John Boswell: "Passin' Through", "You Came to Me", "The Keeper of the Key", "The Music Box", "I'm Loving You", "Sing It to Me Easy" (R-0176 A / AV 1 2490), June 23-July 6, 1976
2 John Boswell: "Just a Good Ol' Dog", "Tell 'Em Who You Are", "Little Bit Country", "Let Love Grow", "Brotherhood of Man", "Hobo's Love Song" (R-0176 B / AV 2 2490), June 23-July 6, 1976
3 John Boswell: Side I (Roadside Records, with lyrics sheet, sent to and returned by Moe Asch of Folkways), undated
4 John Boswell: Side II (Roadside Records, with lyrics sheet, sent to and returned by Moe Asch), undated
1x7-inch Reel-to-reel tape
box item
4 1 John Darlowe Boswell: [Unidentified], December 7, 1977
1x10-inch Reel-to-reel tape
1 John Darlowe Boswell: [Unidentified] (pancaked), December 7, 1977
Compact disc (CD Audio)
box item
4 1-4 John Darlowe Boswell: Passin' Through (Roadside Productions with Scott Heidelbaugh introduction, 4 copies), June 1999
5 John Boswell on "Got it? Flaunt it!" with Larry Beckwith (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), October 25, 2002
6 John Boswell on "Got it? Flaunt it!" First day in training (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), October 28, 2002
7 John Boswell on "Got it? Flaunt it!" Training for his own program (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), October 31, 2002
8 John Boswell on "Carry It On" first solo show (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 4, 2002
9 "Folkforever" training segment solo (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 6, 2002
10 "Freedom Way"--Part 2 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 11, 2002
11 "Freedom Way"--Part 1 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 12, 2002
12 "Freedom Way"--Part 2 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 12, 2002
13 "Freedom Way"--Part 1 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 18, 2002
14 "Freedom Way"--Part 2 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 18, 2002
15 "Serendipity Song Swap" (Guest artist John Ruis), November 18, 2002
16 "Freedom Way"--Part 1 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 19, 2002
17 "Freedom Way"--Part 2 (WRFR-FM 93.3, Rockland, Maine), November 19, 2002
18 Oasis Acoustic Volume 27 (4-disc compilation), undated
19 John Boswell: Boz Edit 2 ("Passin' Through" live performance), undated
VHS videotape cassettes
box item
4 1 Indiana University, "Passin' Through" CD, June 1999
2 Roswell, "Broom Closet" Tape 1, June 26, 1999
3 Roswell, "Broom Closet" Tape 2, June 27, 1999
4 Texas Music Café pilot / Letter from Waco, August 1997
5 John Boswell: Waterworks (with Sherwood Olin), June 2001
6 American Red Cross: Lifeguard Training, undated
7 American Red Cross: Lifeguard Training Tape 1, undated
8 American Red Cross: Lifeguard Training Tape 2, undated
DVD video disc
box item
4 1 John Boswell: [Unidentified live performance on KK Studio copy disc), undated
3-1/2-inch floppy diskettes (Windows OS)
box item
4 1 Boswell: Manuscripts (autobiography .doc) (AV0180-F1), May 19, 2002
2 Boswell: Manuscripts (autobiography .doc) (AV0180-F2), March-May, 2002
3 Boswell: Manuscripts (autobiography .doc) (AV0180-F3), May 2002-August 2005
4 Boswell: Manuscripts (bodybuilding .jpgs) (AV0180-F4), 2002
5 Boswell: Manuscripts (recipes, bodybuilding .jpgs) (AV0180-F5), 2002-2009
6 Boswell: Manuscripts (recipes, letters, .docs .jpgs) (AV0180-F6), 2002-2011
7 Boswell: Manuscripts (letters, VA, .docs .jpgs) (AV0180-F7), 2003-2004
8 Boswell: Manuscripts (letters, .docs) (AV0180-F8), 2003-2006
9 Boswell: Manuscripts (letters, lyrics, VA, .docs) (AV0180-F9), 2004-2008
10 Boswell: Manuscripts (letters, lyrics, .docs, eye chart) (AV0180-F10), 2003-2008
1 Boswell: Manuscripts (letters, lyrics, employment) (AV0180-F11), 2003-2008
12 [Unreadable on PC] (AV0180-F12), undated