Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2016 Issue

Bob Dylan's Archive to be Housed in Oklahoma

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From Dylan Archives to Dylan Store. The times they are a-changin'.

An archive representing the creative genius of a man who was the voice of a generation has come out of the shadows, to be accessible to scholars in an institutional setting. That voice of the baby boom generation is the freewheelin' Bob Dylan; the institution the University of Tulsa. Huh?

 

The archive consists of over 6,000 items, spanning Dylan's career. They go back as far as the 1950's, when no one outside of his hometown in Minnesota had ever heard of him. The high points of his career are generously represented. From the unplugged folk troubadour of the early 1960's, to the controversial electrified Dylan of the late '60's, to the Blood on the Tracks time in the 1970's, it's all here. After that, a new generation and new spokesmen took over as the voice of youth. Dylan's role was supplanted by the Bee Gees. :'-(

 

The most notable item in the archive appears to be a notebook from 1974 with handwritten lyrics for songs from the Blood on the Tracks album, including Tangled Up in Blue and Idiot Wind. It was his biggest selling album. There are sketches and written notes for Tarantula, Dylan's shot at poetry without musical accompaniment. Naturally, there is much more, including his earliest recordings from 1959.

 

While it has long been surmised that Bob Dylan must have a collection of his personal memorabilia, the extent of this archive came as something of a surprise. With Dylan about to reach his 75th birthday in a few weeks, his seeking a permanent home for it should not be surprising. However, it was not a gift. Rolling Stone magazine said that it was sold for an estimated $15-$20 million. They also said it had been estimated to be worth $60 million, so perhaps Dylan sold it at a discount so that it would end up at a library associated with the University of Tulsa.

 

Nevertheless, that is a lot of money. If Dylan was once the voice of a generation that eschewed material wealth for peace, love and freedom, his orientation since the days he bunked with friends while introducing his songs to the beat community of New York has changed over the years. He is believed to own 11 homes, some of which are quite luxurious. Dylan is quite secretive about his personal life, almost never giving interviews. He is known to have had two wives and three children, but rumors persist that he has had more of each. His secretiveness is such that it is conceivable that this could be true despite his being such a major public figure. Certainly, there have been numerous other women with whom he has been involved. It also should be noted Dylan has not been accused of being ungenerous to those in his life, at least not financially, even if he has not always been the perfect family man. All of this requires a substantial amount of money.

 

Dylan, whose appearances were limited as he quickly rose to great renown in the 1960's, today tours constantly. Two reasons have been given for it. One is financial – that he needs the money to support his lifestyle, in particular, maintaining his many homes. That is ironic since, being constantly on the road, he has little time to spend in them. The official Bob Dylan website is essentially a commercial venture, selling everything Bob Dylan, from music to t-shirts. The other reason given for his constant touring is that he truly is a rolling stone, unable to settle down anywhere, a man who must keep moving to survive.

 

But why Tulsa? The money? Something else? Perhaps this is like asking why Dylan chose to record an album of Frank Sinatra songs. Mysterious. Thankfully, as best I know, Sinatra never returned the favor.

 

As to the new location for his archive, Dylan has no particular connection to Tulsa. He grew up in Minnesota. He lived in a couple of places, but all within that state. When he had perfected his craft well enough to try taking it on the road, he headed to New York City. That is even farther, both measurably and spiritually, from Oklahoma. He hung around Manhattan, befriending the beats and their culture, singing his folk songs, and developing a following that would soon explode as he reached people's souls in a way few, if any others, of his generation did.

 

University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham issued a statement that attempted to explain their good fortune. "Because of the level of scholarship available through the university and its partners," he explained, "TU is the perfect keeper of the Bob Dylan Archive." That kind of begs the question. Aren't there comparably good keepers in New York, or Minnesota? Aren't the kind of scholars likely to want to study Dylan's work in depth more likely to be found in New York City than Tulsa?

 

Perhaps Dylan's comment, part of a PR release, explains his motivation: "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. To me it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honor." Whether the money or Woody Guthrie was the primary motivation only Dylan knows, and one can be sure he will not tell us. There is no question Guthrie's music had a major impact on Dylan. It is likely no one else was as influential on him, and Dylan has long acknowledged that debt. When he made it to New York, he made a point of often visiting his idol. Unfortunately, by then Guthrie had been institutionalized for Huntington's disease, which not only ravishes your body, but also your mind. He was not in a position to mentor his disciple.

 

For Guthrie's archive to be housed in Tulsa makes perfect sense. He was born and raised in Oklahoma. He sang about the hard times of the Depression, and few people were as badly impacted by those times as the people of Oklahoma. At one point he took off for California, like so many fellow "Okies" in Grapes of Wrath times, though he got into the music rather than the agricultural business in California, later migrating to New York. However, even there, Guthrie maintained his Okie identity. His archives belong in Oklahoma. As for Dylan, well, I guess if you are a troubadour, you live your life like a rolling stone, Tulsa makes as much sense as anyplace.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest Hemingway's Typewriter Used to Write "A Moveable Feast", Impeccable Provenance From His Biographer A. E. Hotchner. $50,000 to $100,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Samuel Colt, "The Gun that Won the West": 3 Signed Patent Items for "Revolving Cylinder Guns". $40,000 to $50,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Jack Kerouac's Own Typewriter From His Estate Used to Write His Very Last Book. $18,000 to $20,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Rare Force Engraving of the Declaration of Independence Printed in 1848. $15,000 to $18,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Superb Tchaikovsky ALS to Napravnik, 4pp on "Mazeppa". $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Wounded Knee Massacre Same Day Eyewitness Account by Participant, "the 7th needn't be ashamed of today's record". $10,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> F. Scott Fitzgerald Signed Gordon Bryant Portrait -- Finest Known. $8,000 to $9,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Neil Armstrong ALS on NASA Letterhead Regarding His X-15 Flights. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> M. Gandhi Letter: "the life span of human beings is preordained..." -- Fantastic Spiritual Content. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> "Damn the torpedoes!" Riveting 24pp ALS of Admiral Farragut's Steward Describing the "Battle of Mobile Bay”. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Order to Suspend Execution. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Napoleon DS Featuring Imperial Eagle and Enormous Great Seal Appointing Norman Politician Baron of the Empire. $4,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

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