Minnesota and Bob Dylan have always had a good relationship — we have a mural with his face on it to prove it. Right? Well, apparently that wasn’t enough for Minnesota’s favorite son: Bob just announced he’s picked the University of Tulsa to be the forever-home of his massive, career-spanning collection of artifacts.
According to the New York Times, the Oklahoma university acquired the 6,000-piece Dylan archive — the existence of which was long rumored but never confirmed — for an estimated $15 million to $20 million. Among the Dylan loot included: the notebooks in which he wrote Blood on the Tracks, as well as old recordings, little-seen footage, and photographs.
The George Kaiser Family Foundation — headed by oil baron George Kaiser, the richest person in Oklahoma — and the University of Tulsa bought the archive for Oklahoma, the home state of Dylan’s hero, Woody Guthrie. Some of the archival material will be placed alongside some of Guthrie’s papers, among other historic American documents.
“It’s going to start anew the way people study Dylan,” Sean Wilentz, a Dylan historian at Princeton, tells NYT.
With all his stuff in Tulsa, maybe Dylan will feel more inclined to attend their on-campus events than the U's (by most accounts he was a miserable Gopher). In a statement, Dylan said he was stoked his archive will be surrounded by Tulsa’s Native American history:
"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."
For Dylanologists like Wilentz, the vast collection might be the motherlode they’re looking for to get an even deeper look of the man who offered us memoir Chronicles, Volume One as a portrait. The archival project took two years to finish digitizing, and includes the original lyric sheet for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” among other rare Dylan ephemera.
Now Dylan experts in Minnesota will just have to ship off to the Dust Bowl land to get a better peek into the Duluth-born folk icon’s work.