6,000 Bob Dylan artifacts going to University of Tulsa

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A collection of more than 6,000 Bob Dylan artifacts, including a notebook with handwritten lyrics and his first music contract, is headed for the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma.

The university announced Wednesday that The Bob Dylan Archive was acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the university, and would be housed permanently at the school’s Helmerich Center for American Research.

The New York Times estimated the cost of the deal to purchase the collection of the iconic Jewish rock star at $15 million to $20 million.

According to the university’s statement, the archive includes six 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 other items.

The collection will be available to scholars and will be exhibited at the center. Nearly 1,000 of the items are being digitized and preserved by a digital curation team.

The process of physically acquiring the complete archive will take about two years, as the individual components are gathered from their numerous locations, inventoried and shipped to Tulsa, the university said.

“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 American Nations,” Dylan said in the statement. “To me it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honor.”

The Helmerich Center is located on the grounds of the Gilcrease Museum, the site of the Woody Guthrie Center. Guthrie, an American folk singer and Oklahoma native, was one of Dylan’s most significant early influences, even inspiring one of Dylan’s first tracks, Song to Woody,” on his 1962 self-titled album.

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