Nelson Donating Awards, Archives To Briscoe Center

Willie Nelson has a new album and a new place to show a lot of his stuff.

Photo: Jack Plunkett / Invision / AP
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Nelson, who turned 81 last month, has donated many of his platinum records, manuscripts and creative documents to the University of Texas Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the school announced Thursday.

The Willie Nelson Collection will be the focus of an upcoming center exhibit about the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and farm advocate, school officials said.

“Willie Nelson is an iconic American and an iconic Texan, so it’s fitting that the Briscoe Center for American History should help safeguard his archives,” said Bill Powers, UT president. “Because of his generous gift, scholars for decades to come will have access to the inner workings of his creativity and will better understand his influence on American culture.”

The collection includes letters and photos from fellow musicians such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. The items also pay tribute to Nelson’s fans and their gifts and notes to him over the years, UT officials said.

Nelson, from the Central Texas town of Abbott, co-founded the Farm Aid movement to help family farmers. He’s also appeared in more than three dozen films and television shows.

“The Nelson collection is an outstanding addition to the center’s music and material culture holdings,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “It depicts not only his music and movie career, but also the impact he has had on our broader cultural landscape and the depth of his contributions as an activist and philanthropist.”

Nelson in 1993 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

SONY/Legacy Recordings on Tuesday announced the release of Band of Brothers, the new Nelson studio album premiering 14 performances including nine new songs written by him. The album will be available June 17.