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Billy Carrier papers

Identifier: M032

Scope and Content of the Papers

The Billy Carrier papers contain fifty-seven photographs, including numerous images of the Swanee River Boys, as well as several of the cast members of the WSB "Barn Dance" program, The Vaughan Four, and The Landmark Quartet, another group of which Carrier was a member. These photographs are copies made from the originals. In the single folder of printed materials is a photocopy of a datebook in which the engagements of the Swanee River Boys from Thursday, March 7 [1935?] to Saturday, April 12 [1936?] are recorded. Carrier's scrapbooks, which chronicle his career in photographs, news clippings, magazine articles, and handbills, are on microfilm. A photocopy of a shapenote songbook, Favorites of the Swanee River Boys (Dallas: Stamps-Baxter Music, undated), has been transferred to the Songbook Collection. Two audio cassettes of the Swanee River Boys and one LP featuring Billy, Willene, and Larry Carrier make up the sound portion of this collection.


  • circa 1935-1957


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Biography of Billy Carrier

Born June 16, 1913, near Arthur, Kentucky, William S. Carrier ("Billy") was a guitarist, later attending the James D. Vaughan School of Music in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Graduating in 1936, he performed in a quartet, the Vaughan Four, that later changed names, becoming the Swanee River Boys. The popular Swanee River Boys, playing white southern gospel as well as traditional folk songs and African-American spirituals, were featured on a variety of radio programs around the southeast. In 1941, the group was added to the already large roster of acts on the WSB "Barn Dance," broadcast from Atlanta. Carrier and the Swanee River Boys also broadcast on WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, Purina Feed Company's "Checkerboard Time," and Western Auto's "Circle Arrow Show." In 1947, the Swanee River Boys took second place on the NBC Radio talent show "The Big Break." In 1952, Carrier left the Swanee River Boys, but he continued to perform in the Landmark Church Quartet until May 1956.

Billy Carrier and his wife Willene Daniel Carrier were married in 1941. The couple had five children. Carrier's brother Joseph, known as Cotton (circa 1919-1994), also became a well-known country musician and emcee for WSB Radio's "Barn Dance."

Further information on William S. Carrier can be found in: Wayne Daniel, We Had to be Different to Survive: Billy Carrier Remembers the Swanee River Boys, JEMF Quarterly 65-66 (in the Ephemera file, Popular Music Collection).


0.42 Linear Feet (in 4 folders)

Language of Materials



William S. Carrier ("Billy") was a guitarist and member of the popular Swanee River Boys, playing white southern gospel as well as traditional folk songs and African-American spirituals. In 1941, the group joined WSB Radio's "Barn Dance," broadcast from Atlanta. In 1952, Carrier left the Swanee River Boys, but he continued to perform in the Landmark Church Quartet until May 1956. His papers contain fifty-seven photographs and a photocopy of a datebook recording Swanee River Boys engagements, and scrapbooks on microfilm.

Acquisition Information

Donated by William S. ("Billy") Carrier, August 1984 (M1984-18).

Related Archival Materials

The Popular Music and Culture Collection include numerous photographs that have been digitized and are available online in Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.

Separated Materials:

During processing various materials were separated to other Popular Music and Culture Collections. Please contact Special Collections for access.

Popular Music Sound Recordings Collection

  1. The Carriers, featuring Billy, Willene, and Larry Carrier (Temple Records 363) [Phonodisc: M84-18/1]
  2. Side 1. Swanee River Boys, Abner Family Reunion Side 2. The Carriers (not on the album) [Audio cassette: M84-18/2]
  3. Checkerboard Time, Swanee River Boys [Audio cassette: M84-18/3]

Popular Music Songbooks -- consult catalog for access

  1. Favorites of the Swanee River Boys

Processing Information

Processed by Christopher Ann Paton and Christine de Catanzaro at the file level, October 1987.
Billy Carrier:
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
October 1987
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • August 1998: Finding aid revised.
  • June 2008: EAD finding aid created by William Hardesty.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)