On Friday, following two years of cataloging all of the material, the New York Public Library‘s Lincoln Center branch unveiled the Lou Reed archive, a large collection of recordings, photographs, notes, and other artifacts from the rock guitarist’s prolific career. Before Reed passed away in 2013, he did not leave any instructions or expectations on how to handle his life’s work and relics. Reed’s wife, Laurie Anderson, decided to donate the collection to an institution that would display it for the public and, “to present raw material and let people make up their own minds,” as she explains to the New York Times.

“The archive spans Reed’s creative life—from his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades, his job as a staff songwriter for the budget music label, Pickwick Records, and his rise to prominence through The Velvet Underground and subsequent solo career, to his final performances in 2013,” the New York Public Library explains. “The collection comprises studio notes, galleys and proofs, master and unreleased recordings, business papers, personal correspondence, poster art, fan gifts, rare printed material and Reed’s substantial photography collection.”

To celebrate the archive’s opening, the New York Public Library will offer a limited run of 6000 library cards, which displays the iconic image of Reed seen on the cover of  his 1972 Transformer LP.

Head here for more information on the Lou Reed archive.

[Photo: Jonathan Blanc/The New York Public Library]