In his final year of high school, Buddy expressed his desire for a matching set of black bedroom furniture. His parents were able to purchase for him the ensemble on display: the bookcase headboard and rails, full-size mattress and box spring, and nine-drawer dresser with pivoting mirror. Constructed in the simple, utilitarian fashion of mid-20th century modern design by an unknown maker, the furniture exhibits a black lacquer finish with green undertones and gold tone hardware on the drawers. A label on the original Englander air foam mattress indicates a retail price of $79.95. The bedroom suite also included a small nightstand which remains in a private collection.
Little is known about how Buddy’s room was decorated or what types of things were kept in the room. No known photographs of the room exist depicting how it appeared when he occupied it. Additionally, the furniture was moved several times as the Holley family changed homes. One visitor to the last Holley residence at 3208 56th Street remembers seeing a black panther lamp similar to the one currently displayed on the nightstand. The guitar standing in the corner of the room was made by Buddy’s older brother, Travis, in 2003. He subsequently donated it to the Center.
After Buddy’s tragic death in February 1959, the bedroom furniture remained in the Holley household for the next three-plus decades. Buddy’s mother, Mrs. Ella Holley, carefully maintained the room as Buddy had left it, not allowing anyone but herself to step into the room for all those years. After her passing in 1990, the bedroom suite, along with some other items belonging to Buddy, was moved into a local storage facility. It was first sold at an auction held in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1993. Through a sequence of unfortunate events, the furniture passed through two successive owners without ever leaving the storage facility until the third owner, a private collector, finally moved the furniture to his home in Wisconsin in December 2000.
In the spring of 2009, a broker working on behalf of the owner approached the Buddy Holly Center with an offer to return the bedroom furniture to its Lubbock home. Civic Lubbock, Inc., graciously agreed to purchase the bedroom suite and place it on permanent loan to the Center so that visitors can experience this aspect of Buddy’s life.
The furniture was transported to Lubbock and delivered to the Buddy Holly Center on September 2, 2009. It was displayed throughout 2010 and the first half of 2011.