The Bob Dylan Archive at The University of Oklahoma

“I like Allen Ginsberg and not Bob Dylan” wrote a reader a while back on our Facebook page, and another wrote accurately and swiftly back, “They’re joined at the hip.”

Allen loved.. no, Allen revered Bob Dylan.

We announced a few weeks back the immanent sale, (or, right now, proposed sale, University librarians, please note), of the “Holy Grail of Archives” – the Ed Sanders Archive, but that, momentous as it is, fades in comparison to the news announced today (in an exclusive to the New York Times) – the sale to the University of Oklahoma of The Bob Dylan Archive.

Ben Sisario’s extensive article for The New York Times is here.

“The Bob Dylan Archive has been acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation “, (the same Foundation that secured the Woody Guthrie Archives ), and the University of Tulsa and will be permanently housed in Tulsa, under the stewardship of TU’s Helmerich Center for American Research…”..The archive comprises “more than 6,000 items spanning nearly 60 years…decades of never-before-seen handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence, films, videos, photographs and artwork, memorabilia and ephemera, personal documents and effects, unreleased studio and concert recordings, musical instruments and many other items…Nearly 1,000 items from The Bob Dylan Archive have already been brought to the Hardesty Archival Center inside the Helmerich Center…where they are being digitized and preserved by a digital curation team for eventual public exhibition and academic access. The process of physically acquiring the complete archive will span two years, as the individual components are gathered from their numerous locations, inventoried and carefully shipped to Tulsa.” Dylan himself is quoted in the official announcement: “I’m glad that my archives, which have been collected all these years have finally found a home and are to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artifacts from the Native America Nations. To me, it makes a lot of sense, and it’s a great honor”

Bob Dylan’s notebooks – photograph by Erik Campos – Courtesy of the University of Tulsa

One comment

  1. And this from the Reuters news report of the sale
    "The archives handed over to the University of Tulsa include two notebooks with lyrics from the 1975 album "Blood on the Tracks," and Dylan's handwritten lyrics to his 1964 song "Chimes of Freedom" scrawled on hotel notepaper dotted with cigarette burns. There is also correspondence between Dylan and the late beat poet Allen Ginsberg"
    "The Foundation and the university did not say how much the Bob Dylan Archive cost, but the New York Times, which was given an exclusive preview, said it was sold for $15 million to $20 million."

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