A massive archive of previously unknown Dylan demos, notebooks, poems and other documents was bought by an Oklahoma-based consortium.
A previously undiscovered treasure trove of private diaries, documents and recordings belonging to Bob Dylan, arguably the most iconic and influential songwriter in pop history, has been obtained by a consortium and will be housed in Tulsa as the Bob Dylan Archive.
According to the New York Times, an archive constituting more than 6,000 items, including notebooks, photographs, poems, art, unseen film footage and unheard demo recordings, was acquired by the George Kaiser Foundation and the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma for between $15 million and $20 million.
Bob Dylan in concert in 2013
The collection spans almost the entire length of Dylan’s 55 year-long career, and will be made available to scholars with selections of the trove made available to the public. The preview seen by the Times’ reporter is “deeper and more vast than even most Dylan experts could imagine, promising untold insight into the songwriter’s work.”
Tulsa is also the home of a museum dedicated to Woody Guthrie, another legendary American folk musician and a hero of Dylan’s.
The 74 year old himself released a statement on Wednesday (March 2nd), speaking of his pride that his documents “are to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artefacts from the Native American nations. To me, it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honour.”
Dylan has always been extremely private about his work and the creative process behind it, meaning that paraphernalia associated with him usually fetches a high price when it goes up for sale. Two years ago, for instance, a handwritten copy of his iconic song ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ fetched $2 million at a New York auction.
Archived recordings associated with his best-known work in the ‘60s and ‘70s has occasionally been tapped into by Dylan’s record label Columbia in the long-running Bootleg series, but with this new collection it appears that those efforts have barely scratched the surface.
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