Bob Dylan diehards might want to cancel their next trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and reroute to Tulsa, Okla. A 6,000-piece bounty of Dylan’s private writings — some of them long rumored and seldom seen — will make its permanent home in the Sooner State, where it will be studied at the University of Tulsa.
According to The New York Times, the collection was purchased by the university and Oklahoma’s George Kaiser Family Foundation for “an estimated $15 million to $20 million.”
Yes, that’s an awful lot of money, but the treasure trove of notebooks, letters, films, recordings, photos and more figures to inspire unprecedented study from Dylan specialists, who rightfully view Bob as an essential part of the American cultural canon. Likewise, they plan to house it alongside a collection of Native American art and a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence.
Need an example of what the scholars could dig up? The Times reports the haul contains a letter Barbra Streisand sent to Dylan in 1978, thanking him for flowers and joking about making a record together.
It also includes a long mythologized notebook in which Dylan labored over the lyrics for his 1975 classic Blood on the Tracks. But not only that, the archives also reveal there were actually two other notebooks from the same period.
The archives date back to Dylan’s earliest work as an artist. Scholars hope to make new discoveries in his creative process, and how it developed throughout his life. Some of his songs underwent over 40 pages of editing, so there should be no shortage of material to dig through.
In a statement, the 74-year old noted he’s happy the archives will be housed alongside the works of his idol (and native Oklahoman) Woody Guthrie. “To me it makes a lot of sense, and it’s a great honor.”
Watch scholars dig through the Dylan history below: