Archives Collection


BLAND, NEIL                                                                                                                       98-050




Physical Description:

.5 l.f. manuscript materials including

3 audio cassette tapes (TCA-0228 A-C)

2 audio reel tapes (TTA-0228 A-B)

84 iconographic items (photographic prints and halftone images)

1 contact sheet and set of negatives (14 frames)

.1 l.f. papers and holographic items






This collection was compiled and donated to us by Neil Bland.  Bland also donated other materials that he had acquired and used in his music career, and some sheet music and hymnbooks that his mother and aunts collected.


Biographical Sketch:

Neil “Steve” Wilson Bland was born November 11, 1918 in Logansport, West Virginia.  His father and uncle were both old-time fiddlers, and his mother and aunts played piano.  His older brother, Martin (“Slim”), played guitar and the two formed a duet and began a performing career in 1935 in the West Virginia and Pennsylvania region.  They performed in music parks, radio stations, and did at least one recording session (New York, Rainbow Records, 1948), and eventually split up in 1951.  Neil continued performing “until rock & roll hit.” 


Scope and Content:

Eighty-four iconographic images, including halftone, lithographic, and photographic prints, documenting radio stations, shows, musicians, and musical groups performing early forms of country, western, and old time music in regions of Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia during the mid 1930s through the early 1950s.  Highlights include autographed publicity photos and an early original photo of Bill Haley before his rock & roll days.


One contact sheet and respective negatives (fourteen (14) images) documenting Bland’s interview with Wells and Wolfe, taken the day he donated the materials (June 1999).


Three (3) cassette tapes documenting Neil Bland’s career in early country music, including Bland’s own oral summary of his life in music and verbal descriptions of the photographs he donated, and two tapes of an interview conducted by Charles Wolfe and Center director Paul Wells.  (Two audio reel tapes are preservation copies of this material.)


.1 linear feet of holographic or typed song lyrics (copyrighted and uncopyrighted); sheet music (unpublished); hymnbook excerpts; and tune lists.



Photographs and manuscripts are filed by accession number in the manuscripts section.  Audio tapes are filed by tape number with other archival audio visual materials.  Contact sheet and negatives filed in the Iconographic Collection and can be searched through InMagic (MAN-PR-00002).


Related Materials:

Also donated by Neal Bland are 1058 pieces of sheet music and one song broadside; 34 magazines and serials; 103 songbooks, hymnbooks, and songsters; 2 performance programs; 1 Myrex trade catalog (all the above are searchable by accession number in the CPM InMagic database).  19 books, songbooks, and albums (searchable on university system).  4 vertical file items (WSM in oversize, WLW, WLS).  A complete inventory of the serials can be found in the accession file.  Also in the accession file is a list of deaccessioned duplicates.


Box and Folder List:

Box 1  Folder

1          Miscellaneous, 1945-1958

2          Publicity and Candid Photo Prints, 1936-1948 (11 items)

3          Publicity Halftone and Lithograph Prints, 1934-1943 (19 items)

4          Publicity Halftone Prints, 1936-1948 (10 items)

5          Publicity Photo Prints, large 1 1936-1943 (18 items)

6          Publicity Photo Prints, large 2 1944-1954 (19 items)

7          Publicity Photo Postcards, 1939-1941 (4 items)

8          Publicity Real Photo Postcards, 1939-1947 (3 items)

9          Sacred Songs, Hymns, 1905-1965 (7 items)

10        Song Lists [no date] (9 items)

11        Song Lyrics, Handwritten and Hand-typed [no date] (43 items)