Bob Dylan's secret archives to be brought to Tulsa

Posted at 6:55 AM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 12:15:48-04

TULSA – It’s no secret that Bob Dylan’s work is revered by many, but many secrets about his past that have been kept under wraps are coming to Tulsa.

According to the New York Times, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, along with the University of Tulsa, acquired personal records of his work and life. The documents include lyrics, correspondence, recordings, photographs and more. Overall, the archive includes 6,000 pieces. 

Dylan historians claim the archive will give fans and those who have studied Dylan’s work a greater insight into the musician. The archives are not just lyrics but also personal pieces such as scribbled numbers that appear to be Johnny Cash’s phone number to editing notes from the film “Eat the Document” and even hundreds of original tape reels. 

PICS: Bob Dylan's secret archives

“It’s going to start anew the way people study Dylan,” said Sean Wilentz, the Princeton historian and author of “Bob Dylan in America,” when told about the existence of the archive.

Of course what better place to house the works and memoirs of the great Dylan than in the home state of his early on idol Woody Guthrie? The Times reports that the archives will be housed in Tulsa at the University of Tulsa's Helmerich Center for American Research. 

Mr. Dylan, 74, said in a statement with the Times that 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.” He added, with typical understatement, “To me it makes a lot of sense, and it’s a great honor.”

"This is a thrilling and tremendously exciting opportunity for Tulsa,” said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “Bob Dylan represents a musical heritage that ties together not just Dylan’s contributions, but the likes of Tulsa’s JJ Cale, Leon Russell, and Ronnie Dunn. They each have had tremendous influence upon notables such as Eric Clapton who for decades, exclusively had the Tulsa Sound Musicians employed for his tours and recordings. Tulsa’s musical roots are truly deep and fertile. Dylan has even influenced American literature and film. There is no denying, this will certainly enrich the lives of our citizens for generations to come."

"We are beyond thrilled that these treasures have found a home in Tulsa. It makes sense to both of us and Dylan that these artifacts live at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, where music enthusiasts can view the artifacts, as the history is truly understood here," said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. "This gift by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and University of Tulsa is astronomical in continuing to validate Tulsa as a music and culture hub. We are forever grateful for everything GKFF does to improve Tulsa for our visitors, in addition to making our region a wonderful place to live."

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