unc logo

Collection Number: 20472

Collection Title: Bill Morrissey Papers, 1967-2011 (bulk 1980-2011)

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 6.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1500 items)
Abstract Bill Morrissey (1951-2011) was a folk singer, songwriter, performer, and author born in Hartford, Conn., and based in Massachusetts and New Hampshire throughout most of his career (circa 1980-2011). He recorded more than ten albums, including North (1986) and Standing Eight (1989), and was nominated for a Grammy Award for his album Songs of Mississippi John Hurt (1999). He also wrote poetry and fiction, including the novel Edson (1996). The collection consists of personal and professional papers and other materials relating to the music and writing career of Bill Morrissey. Materials include correspondence with family, his manager Ellen Karas, and musicians and friends David Massengill, Mike McCormick, Robert Olmstead, Suzanne Vega, Dar Williams, and others; press kits and other promotional materials; drawings and paintings by Morrissey; concert flyers; set lists; reviews; contracts and financial records of touring expenses; drafts and published writings by Bill Morrissey and by others; and photographs of Morrissey and other musicians at concerts, festivals, recording studios, and other locations. Other formats in the collection include data compact dics with photographs of the 2004 Kerrville Folk Festival; floppy discs with writings by Morrissey and Peter Spencer; and audiocassettes and digital audiotapes with recordings by Morrissey. The collection also includes a guitar used by Morrissey in performances and recordings until the late 1980s.
Creator Morrissey, Bill.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Use of audiotapes or videotapes may require production of listening or viewing copies. Unpublished sound recordings are closed to access pending approval from donor.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Bill Morrissey Papers #20472, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Ellen Karas and Peter Keane in March 2012 (Acc. 101571).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Bill Morrissey (1951-2011) was a folk singer, songwriter, performer, and author, born in Hartford, Conn., and based in Massachusetts and New Hampshire throughout most of his career. He recorded more than ten albums, including North (1986) and Standing Eight (1989), and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for Songs of Mississippi John Hurt (1999). From the late 1980s through 2011, Morrissey performed primarily in the New England region of the United States and in Canada. Morrissey also wrote poetry and fiction, including the novel Edson, published by Knopf in 1996. Bill Morrissey died 23 July 2011 while on tour.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of personal and professional papers and other materials relating to the music and writing career of Bill Morrissey. Materials include correspondence with family, his manager Ellen Karas, and musicians and friends David Massengill, Mike McCormick, Robert Olmstead, Suzanne Vega, and others; press kits and other promotional materials; drawings and paintings by Morrissey; concert flyers; set lists; reviews; contracts and financial records of touring expenses; drafts and published writings by Bill Morrissey and by others; and photographs of Morrissey and other musicians at concerts, festivals, recording studios, and other locations. Other formats in the collection include data compact dics with photographs of the 2004 Kerrville Folk Festival; floppy discs with writings by Morrissey and Peter Spencer; and audiocassettes and digital audiotapes with recordings by Morrissey. The collection also includes a guitar used by Morrissey in performances and recordings until the late 1980s.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011.

Approximately 1500 items.

Arrangement: Materials arrived at repository unsorted and were arranged into groupings during processing.

Papers relate to the music and writing career of Bill Morrissey. Materials date comprehensively from 1967-2011, with the bulk of materials relating to his career circa 1980-2011. Materials include correspondence, notes, clippings, promotional materials, photographs, visual art, ephemera, financial records, writing drafts, and published writings by Bill Morrissey and by others. Also included is a guitar used by Morrissey.

Folder 1-2

Art #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 1-2

Visual art created by Bill Morrissey. Includes pastel and pencil drawings and oil and watercolor paintings on canvas and in spiral bound sketchbooks.

Folder 3

Awards #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 3

Includes a plaque in Italian for "Only a Hobo Music Promotion" (1993); certificate nominating Songs of Mississippi John Hurt for Best Traditional Folk Album in the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards (1999); and a plaque from the Tower Records Cambridge Walk of Fame (July 1999).

Folder 4-8

Clippings #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 4-8

Clippings of magazines, newspapers, and photocopied articles of general interest. Includes isolated articles relating to Bill Morrissey's work and to major events in politics and in Boston sports, circa 2002-2004.

Box 4

Concert and festival badges #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Box 4

Folder 9-10

Correspondence and related materials, 1967-1978. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 9-10

Includes a letter from Bill Morrissey's brother Joseph ("Joe") Morrissey, asking Bill to illustrate posters for student government campaign at Providence College, and refers to Bill playing in the Jug-Band (3 March 1968). Also includes correspondence regarding Morrissey's music career in Lansdale, Pa. (1970-1972), Berkeley, Calif. (1974), and Durham, N.H., and Newmarket, N.H. (1975-1978).

Folder 11-12

Correspondence and related materials, 1980-1989. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 11-12

Correspondence with friends and other musicians, including annual Christmas cards from Suzanne Vega. Professional correspondence reflects Bill Morrissey's increasing recording and performance activities. Includes contracts with recording studios and with various concerts and festival venues throughout New England and Canada.

Folder 13-17

Correspondence and related materials, 1990-1994. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 13-17

Chiefly music business correspondence, including performance contracts and royalty statements from Rounder Records Group. Friends and frequent correspondents include Mondy Porter, Suzanne Vega, Robert Olmstead, and Mike McCormick. There are isolated letters from Bill Morrissey's mother, Marion Morrissey, in Lansdale, Pa.

Folder 18-23

Correspondence and related materials, 1995-1999. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 18-23

Correspondence, 1996-1997, chiefly regarding Bill Morrissey's novel Edson, published by Knopf in 1996. Regular correspondents include Mike McCormick, Randa McNamara, Truman Ingalsbe, Suzanne Vega, and David Massengill. Also includes a fan letter from musician Dar Williams, in response to Morrissey's album Standing Eight (20 May 1997).

Folder 24-27

Correspondence and related materials, 2000-2009. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 24-27

Letters, 2000, are addressed to Bill Morrissey living in Tamworth, N.H.; after 2002, primarily printed email correspondence with manager Ellen Karas, in regard to Morrissey's travel and performance schedule. Other correspondents include Suzanne Vega, Annie Provenzano, various fans, and other musicians.

Folder 25a

Correspondence, 2003. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 25a

CLOSED: Pending donor review.

Folder 28-29

Correspondence and related materials, undated. #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 28-29

General correspondence with friends and other musicians, relating to Bill Morrissey's music, performances, and writing; also included are sympathy cards following the death of Morrissey's father, and personal correspondence with his mother and with manager Ellen Karas.

Folder 30-36

Edson #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 30-36

Partial and complete drafts, with some handwritten edits, and page proofs. Also includes cover proofs of the French edition of the novel, enclosed with an antique circular in French entitled Les Hommes d'Aujourd'hui (Volume 7).

Folder 37-40

Financial records #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 37-40

Chiefly receipts, circa 1985, of expenses from touring. Bill Morrissey organized receipts by month in manila folders and listed expenses, frequently for hotels, food, and guitar strings; also included are household bills, many addressed to Lisa N. Morrissey.

Folder 41

Flyers #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 41

Printed flyers promoting performances by Bill Morrissey.

Folder 42

Grammy program, 2001 #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 42

Folder 43

Music instruction charts #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 43

Folder 44

Notebooks #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 44

Small bound notebooks containing sketches, song lyrics, and personal notes.

Folder 45

Notes and business cards #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 45

Includes handwritten notes and business cards collected by Bill Morrissey.

Folder 46-47

Other papers #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 46-47

Includes calendars, postcards, maps, travel guides, brochures, festival program, and an issue of the Tamworth Civic News (2007), presumably collected by or sent to Bill Morrissey.

Folder 48-50

Periodicals #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 48-50

Includes a 2010 issue of French music magazine Xroads that contains an interview with Bill Morrissey; also included are other music magazines and periodicals collected by Morrissey, relating to music, literature, hunting dogs, and boating.

Folder 51

Personal records #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 51

Birth certificate (1951); certificate of title for a vehicle registered in New Hampshire (2010); Federal Communications Commission Radio Operator Permit (1975); Massachusetts drivers license (expiring 1998); dispatcher card for the Fire Department of Newmarket, N.H., (1978-1979); public library cards for Berkeley, Calif., (1977) and Newmarket, N.H. (1978); and a plastic identification bracelet.

Image Folder PF-20472/1-2

Photographs #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." PF-20472/1-2

Color and black-and-white snapshots, informal portraits, negatives, contact sheets and printed digital photographs of Bill Morrissey, friends, and other musicians. Includes candid and posed images from concerts and festivals, recording studios, and other locations, as well as publicity photographs depicting Morrissey fishing and playing guitar.

Folder 52

Press kits #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 52

Collected biography, photographs, and promotional articles for press kits.

Folder 53

Printed materials #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 53

Photocopied articles and reviews of Bill Morrissey's work.

Folder 54

Professional papers #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 54

Items primarily related to touring; includes a draft of an artist contract with Rounder Records with handwritten edits, blank rider forms, blank Rounder Records settlement sheet for CD sales, blank performance venue contracts from the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, and a blank application for the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance.

Folder 55

Promotional materials #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 55

Postcards, bookmarks, and business cards with promotional information for various albums and for Bill Morrissey's novel Edson.

Folder 56-57

Sheet music #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 56-57

Includes music by Simon and Garfunkel and other printed sheet music collected by Bill Morrissey.

Folder 58

Writings: Fiction drafts #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 58

Loose handwritten and typed pages of unpublished fiction, including partial drafts of "Imaginary Runner."

Folder 59

Writings: Song lyrics and sheet music #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 59

Includes page proofs of the liner notes for the album "Come Running," with handwritten edits.

Folder 60a

Writings: Notes and set lists #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 60a

Chiefly handwritten on napkins and scraps of paper.

Folder 60b

Writings: Set list from guitar #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 60b

Handwritten set list previously taped to Bill Morrissey's guitar (Museum Item MU-20472/1).

Folder 61-64

Writings by others #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." Folder 61-64

Fiction, poetry, song lyrics, sheet music, recipes, and other notes. Fiction drafts include works by Nalini Jones and Adam Desnoyers. Also included is a bound, unpublished collection of Bob Dylan lyrics and writings compiled by Ron Murz.

Museum Item MU-20472/1

Bill Morrissey guitar #20472, Series: "1. Papers and Related Materials, 1967-2011." MU-20472/1

Guild guitar used in performance and recordings primarily during the early part of Morrissey's career, through the late 1980s. The guitar, a leather strap, and related accessories are kept in original guitar case. A set list is taped to the side of the guitar. Manager Ellen Karas noted that the guitar was used most notably in recording the song "Long Gone." According to Peter Keane, a friend and the donor of the guitar, Morrissey acquired an Epiphone "Texan" guitar in the late 1980s which became his stage guitar, but he continued to use the Guild guitar for songwriting.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005.

24 items.

Includes digital audiotapes, videotape, floppy discs, audiocassettes, and digital photographs on data compact disc. Digital audiotapes include recordings by Bill Morrissey, circa 1991-1992 and 2005. Floppy discs contain writings by Morrissey, including letters, songs, poems, prose, drafts of Edson and of the unpublished novel "Imaginary Runner". There are also software and text files received from Peter Spencer in Rocky Hill, N.J. and possible recordings on discs labeled "Dub #1" and "Dub #2," and unidentified material on two unlabeled discs. Audiocassettes chiefly contain unidentified fragments of songs recorded by Morrissey, including one with Greg Brown ("Friend of Mine." Data compact discs were labeled "CD pics" in original enclosure, and include photographs taken by Brian Kanof at the Kerrville Folk Festival, 29 May 2004, and unidentified materials labeled "For Ellen."

All original titles have been retained.

Digital Audiotape DAT-563

"Brown and Morrissey, Friend of Mine, Philo PH1151, 12/18/1992, copy of CD Master" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DAT-563

Digital Audiotape DAT-564

"Bill Morrissey, Master 1, 8/20/1991" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DAT-564

Digital Audiotape DAT-565

"Bill Morrissey, Philo 1154, DAT 2" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DAT-565

Digital Audiotape DAT-566

"Bill Morrissey, 8/15, Master" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DAT-566

Digital Audiotape DAT-567

"Bill Morrissey, Philo, mixes, 09/29/00" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DAT-567

Digital Audiotape DAT-568

"Bill Morrisey, Demos, 7/2/05" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DAT-568

Videotape V8M-182

Unlabeled 8MM videotape #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." V8M-182

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/1

"Dub #1" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/1

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/2

"Dub #2" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/2

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/3

"Edson" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/3

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/4

"Letters" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/4

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/5

"Songs" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/5

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/6

"Poems and prose poems" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/6

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/7

Unidentified #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/7

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/8

Unidentified #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/8

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/9

"Imaginary Runner 21 March '04" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/9

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/10

"Imaginary Runner 21 March '04" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/10

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/11

"Imaginary Runner 6/1/04" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/11

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/12

"Software - Property of Peter Spencer" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/12

Floppy Disc FLD-20472/13

"Text - Property of Peter Spencer" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FLD-20472/13

Audiocassette FS/12747

"Bill Morrissey, song fragments" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FS/12747

Audiocassette FS/12748

Unidentified (probably Bill Morrisey, song fragments) #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." FS/12748

Data Compact Disc DCD-20472/1

"Kerrville Folk Festival, 29 May 2004, Photos by Brian Kanof" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DCD-20472/1

Data Compact Disc DCD-20472/2

"For Ellen" #20472, Series: "2. Audio-Visual Materials, 1991-2005." DCD-20472/2

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Virginia Ferris, March 2013

Encoded by: Virginia Ferris, March 2013

Back to Top