The collection has more than 6,000 items from the span of Dylan's career.
A secret stash of Bob Dylan mementos is headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma, the New York Times reports. Containing over 6,000 items, the extensive archive dates back to Dylan’s first foray into music, spanning several decades of unreleased recordings and concert footage, handwritten lyrics and letters, films, photographs, instruments, and a trove of other relics. The George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa bought the collection for an estimated $15 to $20 million, which is currently en route to Oklahoma. It will take a permanent home in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, near the Woody Guthrie Center, following two years of cataloguing and digitalization.
The announcement arrives after years of speculation that Dylan, now 74, kept a private stock of memorabilia. According to the Times, the resulting assemblage is more than even experts imagined, offering a comprehensive dive into the life of a notoriously secretive musician. Items include a trinity of notebooks from his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks, a wallet from the 1960s containing Johnny Cash’s phone number and a business card from Otis Redding, the leather jacket Dylan wore at his 1965 Newport Folk Festival appearance, dozens of rewrites and annotations, and much more.
The archive was initially appraised at more than $60 million, though the bulk of it was given as a donation. Its material will be put on display alongside “a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence, a cache of Native American art and the papers of Guthrie,” with plans to add a Dylan gallery next to the Guthrie museum. Dylan has yet to visit the foundation or the university, but told the Times in a statement he was glad his archives had 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. To me it makes a lot of sense, and it’s a great honor.”