B.B. King is widely known as King of the Blues, with a career spanning approximately fifty years and as many albums. Born Riley B. King in 1925, he moved from Mississippi to Memphis in 1947 to pursue a music career. Local radio and live success quickly followed. By the mid-1950s, King was performing nationally more than 300 days per year. His music draws from many genres, including swing, jazz and pop, and his guitar style has influenced some of the world's top musicians. In recognition of his achievements, King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He has also received five honorary doctorates. King still tours internationally more than 250 days per year, including gigs at the four B.B. King's Blues Clubs located throughout the country.

This archive is comprised of the recordings and images of Dr. William Ferris, professor of history and Senior Associate Director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The majority of the items date from the mid-1970s, when Dr. Ferris first met King at Yale University. The two have maintained a relationship for three decades. More of Dr. Ferris's materials, as well as possible additions from other collections, will be added. The archive was created in April, 2004, and is an ongoing project of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Ferris Collection is part of the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC Chapel Hill. Digitization funding courtesy of Dr. Gary Marchionini's Boshamer Professorship.








University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2004. All materials © William Ferris. All rights reserved.