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Jesse Austin Morris Collection

Accession Numbers


Type of Material

Manuscript materials, books, serials, performance documents, iconographic items, artifacts, sound recordings, correspondence, and reproductions of various materials


Physical Description

22 linear feet of manuscript material, including

  • 8 linear feet of Wills Brothers manuscript materials

6 linear feet of photographs, including

  • 1 linear foot of Wills Brothers photographs
  • 3 boxes of smaller 4x6 photographs

21 linear feet of manuscript audio/visual materials


1930-2012, bulk 1940-1990


 All materials in this collection are subject to standard national and international copyright laws. Center staff are able to assist with copyright questions for this material.

Provenance and Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the Center by Jesse Austin Morris of Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 23, 2014.  Former Center for Popular Music Director Dale Cockrell and Archivist Lucinda Cockrell picked up the collection from the home of Mr. Morris and transported it to the Center. 


The original arrangement scheme for the collection was maintained during processing. The exception to this arrangement was the audio/visual materials, which in the absence of any original order, are organized by format. Collection is arranged in four series: 1. General files; 2. Wills Brothers; 3. General photographs; 4. Wills Brothers photographs.


Subject/Index Terms

Western Swing

Wills, Bob

Wills, Johnnie Lee

Cain’s Ballroom

Country Music

Texas Music

Oklahoma Music

Jazz music

Giffis, Ken

Agency History/Biographical Sketch

Jesse Austin Morris was editor of The Western Swing Journal and its smaller predecessors for twenty years and a well-known knowledge base in western swing research. Mr. Morris holds the honor of being a 2012 Inductee to the Northwest Western Swing Music Society (Seattle, WA) Hall of Fame and a 2013 Inductee to the Western Swing Society (Sacramento, CA) Hall of Fame. Mr. Morris was working on a project with Johnny Lee Wills Dance Schedules at the time he fell ill. Documents relating to this project can be found in boxes 6 and 7 of the Wills Brothers series.


Scope and Content

Research materials collected by Jesse Morris to use for his publication of The Western Swing Journal and other related projects. The manuscript papers consist of handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, articles photocopied from books, journals, newspapers, magazines, correspondence, photographs and webpage printouts. The materials are organized by the artist, location or event they entail.

Also included in the collection are books, trade catalogs, serials, performance documents, and sound recordings related to the subjects of western swing, country music, and some early jazz. There are sound recordings, video recordings, artifacts, original sheet music, sheet music photocopies, photographs and postcards in the collection.


Collection Contents (Folder/Box List)

Box 1

Bob Wills Ranch House

Wills Point

Bob Wills Okla [Oklahoma]

Bob Wills Okla [Oklahoma]

Bob Wills Texas

Bob Wills Calif. [California]

Bob Wills Calif [California]

Bob Wills Misc.

Bob Wills

Bob Wills

Bob Wills

Bob Wills

Bob Wills

Bob Wills & Band Members

Leon McAuliffe

Lee Ross

The Wills Brothers

Johnnie Lee Wills

Johnnie Lee Wills

Johnnie Lee Wills

Luke Wills

John Wills (Lukes Son)

Billy Jack Wills


Finding aid written by Olivia M. Beaudry, September 2014 February 2015.


Materials Cataloged Separately

Per Center policy, certain formats are cataloged separately for accessibility. These include secondary serials [Western Swing Society Music News, Seattle/Northwest Western Swing Music Society], Reading Room books, rare books, sheet music, performance documents, trade catalogs, and sound recordings. The Reading Room books are searchable through the MTSU Walker Library catalog, all other materials are searchable through the Centers website database or in-house. [For a complete list of separated materials, please contact the archivist]



All manuscript materials are located in the special collections storage area filed by accession number. Reading room books, serials, sheet music, trade catalogs, iconographic items, performance documents and sound recordings have been separated from the manuscripts and cataloged in CPM InMagic database and searchable through the website.


Related Materials

The Center holds other western swing related manuscript collections, notably Bob Wills Collection, 97-055, Doug Seroff Country Music Collection, 10-034 and Charlie Walker Collection, 08-020. Special collection sheet music, performance documents, trade catalogs, photographs, sound recordings, rare books, and reading room materials related to the subjects of western swing, country music or jazz are also held by the Center and searchable through the CPM website database or MTSU Walker Library catalog.



Western Swing, Wills, Bob, Wills, Johnnie Lee, Cain's Ballroom, Country music, Texas Music, Oklahoma Music, Jazz music


Morris, Jesse Austin (April 26, 1932-August 30, 2014)

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