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Bill Wittliff 1940-2019

A public tribute to Bill’s life and work was held on September 8, 2019, at The Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas.

Watch a video of the event.

"From the very beginning, the idea was that this be a place of preservation—but also, and maybe most importantly, that it be a place of inspiration as well, a place where those with the itch to create but maybe not yet the courage could see by example how others before them had struggled to find their own true expression." - Bill Wittliff

Bill Wittliff was more than a founder, he was a leader and a mentor. He inspired us. He cared about us and we cared about him deeply. You didn’t have to spend much time with Bill to know what a special person he was. We were all lucky to have known and worked with him. Below is a transcript of president Denise Trauth's message to campus about Bill's passing.


Dear Texas State Community,

It saddens me greatly to share that Dr. Bill Wittliff, a Texas State Hero, and a dear friend, passed away on June 9, 2019.

Bill and his wife, Dr. Sally Wittliff, founded The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in 1986 to create a special collections research archive, library, and exhibition gallery focused entirely on the creative spirit of Texas and the Southwest. Because of their continued support, today The Wittliff includes more than 500 special collections in literature, photography, music, and film, and attracts visitors, researchers, and lifelong learners from around the globe. It stands as a tribute to Bill’s legacy.

Bill was a gifted writer, filmmaker, photographer, artist, and visionary. He was an inspiration to all who knew him, but particularly to our students. During special programs at The Wittliff attended by hundreds of people of all ages, Bill could usually be found in the corner of the room surrounded by students as he patiently answered questions about the creative process. 

Because of Bill and Sally’s generosity and vision, people from across the U.S. and around the world have come to know Texas State through the remarkable collections of The Wittliff.

We mourn Bill’s passing and send our deepest condolences to Sally and the Wittliff family.



Denise M. Trauth


Bill's bio and information about his archive materials.