University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Townsend Miller Collection, 1952-1983



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Miller, Townsend, 1919-1989
Title: Townsend Miller collection
Dates: 1952-1983
Abstract: Consisting of correspondence, photographs, printed material, creative works, legal and financial documents, diagrams, scrapbook material, and audio recordings, the Townsend Miller Collection, 1952-1983, documents Miller's journalism career and involvement in the country music industry.
Identification: urn:taro:utexas.cah.02272
Extent: 64 linear feet
Language: English .
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Born in Gainesville, Texas, Townsend Miller (1919-1989) was a country music columnist for the Austin American-Statesman from 1972 through 1983. Having attended Rice University intermittently from 1937 through 1941, Miller served as a navigator on a B-17 bomber during World War II. Upon his discharge in 1944, he enrolled in North Texas State University as a journalism student. After graduation, Miller worked as a reporter and editor for Texas Game and Fish Magazine, True West, and Frontier Times before becoming a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in 1959. His love for journalism continued, however, as Miller wrote freelance articles between 1952 and 1974, including pieces for Country Music Magazine on Ernest Tubb and Anita Rodgers Court.

Miller's interest in country music spanned his lifetime but developed in earnest when he began to seriously collect country music sound recordings in 1969. He began gathering published and unpublished discographical information and also compiled his own discographies as well as corresponding with other collectors on the subject. In 1972, Miller approached the Austin American-Statesman about writing some articles on country music, which led to a twice-weekly column by Miller. Originally intended to reflect his interest in country music history and record collecting, the column shifted focus to the "progressive country" music scene emerging in Austin as the city's reputation as a live music venue grew in the early 1970s. Miller amassed a vast collection of sound recordings and artist biographical information during the eleven years he wrote the column. He also visited local clubs three to four nights a week, while he still held his day job at Merrill Lynch. Miller wrote his last column for the Statesman in April 1983, retiring from Merrill Lynch the following year. He died in April 1989 of smoke inhalation and burns from an accidental car fire at Town Lake in Austin.


Scope and Contents

Consisting of correspondence, photographs, printed material, creative works, legal and financial documents, diagrams, scrapbook material, and audio recordings, the Townsend Miller Collection, 1952-1983, documents Miller's journalism career and involvement in the country music industry. Divided into two subgroups, the collection comprises over 8,000 sound recordings including 78s, LPs, 45s, reel-to-reels, and cassette tapes, including Texans, trend-setters, mint-condition recordings, and autographed special editions. Artists include Marcia Ball, Willie Nelson, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb, Waylon Jennings, Kitty Wells, Light Crust Doughboys, Vassar Clements, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and Vernon Dalhart.

The second subgroup, manuscript materials, contains promotional and biographical material with photographs of country music artists supplied by record companies and promoters between 1970 and 1983. Miller's correspondence concerns his association with such country performers as Tom T. Hall, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Gary P. Nunn, and Loretta Lynn (1972-1983). The collection also includes Miller's correspondence with other record collectors, record catalogs, and auction lists, as well as brochures of the festivals, performance contracts and riders, stage plots, and photographs, which illuminate Miller's influence as an organizer or talent promoter for Aqua Fest (1974-1983), Kerrville Folk Festival (1974-1982), Austin City Limits television program (1976-1982), and Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic (1973, 1975, 1976, 1980, and 1981).

The collection also includes final copies of Miller's Austin American-Statesman columns and freelance articles, discographies on certain musicians, subject files on topics for possible articles, such as fiddle players and harmonicas, and newspaper clippings on all aspects of the country music scene. Lastly, the collection includes published music material and journals, like Texas Fish and Game Magazine, Frontier Times, JEMF Quarterly, Music City News, Billboard, Country Rambler, and Country Style.


Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access

Access to some audiovisual formats requires an appointment; contact repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; contact repository for more information.


Index Terms

Personal Names
Ball, Marcia
Clements, Vassar
Court, Anita Rodgers
Dalhart, Vernon, 1883-1948
Hall, Tom T.
Jennings, Waylon
Lynn, Loretta
Miller, Townsend, 1919-1989
Nelson, Willie, 1933-....
Nunn, Gary P.
Rodgers, Jimmie, 1897-1933
Tubb, Ernest, 1914-1984
Wells, Kitty
Wills, Bob, 1905-1975
Corporate Names
Aqua Fest
Austin American-statesman
Austin city limits (Television program)
Frontier times (Austin, Tex.)
Kerrville Folk Festival
Light Crust doughboys
Texas Playboys
Texas game and fish magazine.
True West.
Subjects
Country music
Music journalists
Places
Austin
New York
Texas
Document Types
Periodicals

Related Materials

See also The Townsend Miller Poster Collection


Separated Material

Some materials have been separated to the Material Culture and Library units.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Townsend Miller Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Accession Number(s)

1991-088; 1998-081

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center's "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Teresa Mullins, December 1992.

Subsequent revisions were made by Esther Kirchner, November 2014; Amanda Reyes, December 2015; and Colleen Hobbs, September 2020.


OCLC Number

719599173


Detailed Description of the Collection

Inventory

Audio discs
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4Za85 [SRH1230014404] Audio discs, undated
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4Za86 [SRH1230014405] Audio discs, undated
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4Za87 [SRH1230014406] Audio discs, undated
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4Za88 [SRH1230014407] Audio discs, undated
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4Za89 [SRH1230014408] Audio discs, undated
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4Za90 [SRH1230014409] Audio discs, undated
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4Za91 [SRH1230014410] Audio discs, undated
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4Za92 [SRH1230014420] Audio discs, undated
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4Za93 [SRH1230014411] Audio discs, undated
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4Za94 [SRH1230014412] Audio discs, undated
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4Za95 [SRH1230014413] Audio discs, undated
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4Za96 Audio discs, undated
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4Za97 Audio discs, undated
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4Za98 [SRH1230014389] Audio discs, undated
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4Za99 Audio discs, undated
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4Za100 Audio discs, undated
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4Za101 Audio discs, undated
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4Za102 [SRH1230014386] Audio discs, undated
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4Za103 [SRH1230014387] Audio discs, undated
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4Za104 [SRH1230014388] Audio discs, undated
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4Za105 [SRH1230014390] Audio discs, undated
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4Za106 Audio discs, undated
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4Za107 [SRH1230014440] Audio discs, undated
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4Za108 [SRH1230014441] Audio discs, undated
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4Za109 [SRH1230014442] Audio discs, undated
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4Za110 [SRH1230014443] Audio discs, undated
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4Za111 [SRH1230014444] Audio discs, undated
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4Za112 [SRH1230014485] Audio discs, undated
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4Za113 [SRH1230014445] Audio discs, undated
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4Za114 [SRH1230014446] Audio discs, undated
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4Za115 [SRH1230014447] Audio discs, undated
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4Za116 [SRH1230014414] Audio discs, undated
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4Za117 [SRH1230014415] Audio discs, undated
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4Za118 [SRH1230014416] Audio discs, undated
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4Za119 [SRH1230014417] Audio discs, undated
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4Za120 [SRH1230014449] Audio discs, undated
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4Za121 [SRH1230014448] Audio discs, undated
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4Za122 [SRH1230014384] Audio discs, undated
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4Za123 Audio discs, undated
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4Za124 Audio discs, undated
Manuscript, printed material, and audio recordings
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4Za125 Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za126 [SRH1230014385] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za126.1 [SRH1230014505] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za126.2 [SRH1230014486] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za127 [SRH1230014511] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material undated
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4Za128 [SRH1230014512] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za129 [SRH1230014513] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za130 [SRH1230014514] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za131 [SRH1230014515] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za132 [SRH1230014516] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za133 [SRH1230014517] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za134 Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za135 [SRH1230014518] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za136 [SRH1230014519] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za137 [SRH1230014520] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za138 [SRH1230014521] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za139 [SRH1230014522] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za140 [SRH1230014523] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za141 [SRH1230014524] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za142 [SRH1230014525] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za143 [SRH1230014526] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za144 [SRH1230014527] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za145 [SRH1230014537] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za146 [SRH1230014536] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za147 [SRH1230014533] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za148 [SRH1230014535] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za149 [SRH1230014534] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za150 [SRH1230014532] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za150.1 [SRH1230014531] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za150.2 [SRH1230014530] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za151 Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za152 Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4Za153 [SRH1230014529] Manuscript, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, and printed material, undated
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4B300 [SRH1230025702] Talent and promotional files; artists A-E
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4B301 [SRH1230025703] Talent and promotional files; artists F-O
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4B302 [SRH1230025704] Talent and promotional files; artists P-V
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4B303 [SRH1230025705] Talent and promotional files; artists W-Y
Photographs
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4B303 [SRH1230025705] Promotional; artists A-L
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2M512 [SRH1230010161] Promotional; artists M-Z
Local artists; A-Z
Pioneers of Country Music
Festivals, performances and associations
Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic, 1975, 1980
Country Music Association Awards, 1972, 1973, 1975
Austin City Limits, 1976-1982
Country Music Awards, undated
Subject file photos, Country Music Hall of Fame
Freelance articles
Austin music scene (Billboard)
Threadgill, Kenneth
Longnose gar, 1953
Oversized
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2.325/V15 [SRH1230002538] Photographs
Miscellaneous photos and paintings
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2.325/A72a [SRH1230000204] Awards and certificates of appreciation
Music related ephemera, including invitations and backstage passes
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2.325/A101 [SRH1230000227] Miller's Austin American-Statesman columns, October 1979-December 1982