Both sonically rewarding and academically valuable, the work of legendary singer songwriter Bob Dylan has long been discussed and dissected. Now, fans and critics alike will have the opportunity to get closer to Dylan’s work, as the New York Times has reported that a large, 6,000 piece archive has been bought by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa. The purchased went for an estimated $15-20 million.
The massive archive is said to contain everything from lyrics and personal correspondences to recordings, films and photographs. Returning to the home state of Dylan’s boyhood idol Woody Guthrie, the archive, says Sean Wilentz, Princeton historian and author of Bob Dylan in America, is going to “start anew the way people study Dylan.” The archives will be displayed in Tulsa alongside other historically significant documents including a rare copy of the Declaration Of Independence, a cache of Native American art and the papers of Woody Guthrie.
The archive also contains two notebooks in which Dylan had scribbled notes for songs like “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Ballad of a Thin Man,” as well as a number of tracks from 1975’s Blood On The Tracks. A wallet of Dylan’s from the mid-1960s contains Johnny Cash’s phone number, a business card from Otis Redding and a telegram from actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper asking for Dylan’s permission to use the song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” in their classic film, Easy Rider. It’s safe to say that with this new Dylan archive, fans and academics both will yield invaluable dividends.
Notebook containing lyrics from 1975’s Blood On The Tracks
Drafts for the song “Dignity” from 1989
Lyrics from “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
[All photos via New York Times]