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Willie Nelson Donates Stash of Personal Artifacts To Briscoe Center

Jeff Newman Southern Lights/Northern Cross Collection, Briscoe Center for American History

Even as he celebrated his 81st birthday – how else, but by getting his fifth-degree black belt in a martial art called GongKwon Yusul - legendary musician Willie Nelson does not show signs of slowing down.

It was, however, announced today that he has decided to donate a large portion of his personal collection to the DolphBriscoeCenter for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Texas Standard's David Brown caught up with the Center's Executive Director, Don Carleton, who said they are thrilled to be the recipients of Willie's collection.

"It's a little bit of everything," Carleton says. "Everything from photographs, to letters to gold records -- which there are a lot of those -- newspaper clippings, even native American headdresses that were given to Willie by various Native American tribes. One of the great things about this collection, it reflects this wide range of people who follow him. They're from all walks of life. "

The Briscoe Center is still in the process of receiving and processing the large assortment of items donated by the seven-time Grammy winner. Carlton said he hoped an exhibit could be made available to the public this fall. He says the collection will have value for many.

"He's an American icon, as well as a Texas icon. This collection reflects that because someone who is an icon – I mean you can define icon in many different ways – but it's someone who I feel has a broad base of appeal, and kind of just transcends the divisions we have," Carlton explained. "I think everybody loves Willie, and you can look at this collection and see that."  

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
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