This past April, the Grateful Dead announced that it would donate its vast and colorful archives to a campus that opened the same year the collection was started.
Documenting the history of the band from 1965 to the present, the Grateful Dead Archive will reside in the Special Collections area of UCSC's McHenry Library. The renovated McHenry Library will also include a room named "Dead Central," just inside the front door, where some items from the archive will be permanently displayed and other exhibits will rotate in and out. Other universities, including Stanford and UC Berkeley, vied for the archive. But the band thought UCSC was a perfect fit.
"We looked around, and UC Santa Cruz seems the best possible home," said Grateful Dead band member Bob Weir. "If you ever wrote the Grateful Dead a letter, you'll probably find it there!"
Library staff expects the processing of the archive to take at least two years, though parts of the collections will be debuted in stages as processing progresses. The archive includes business records, correspondence, photographs, tickets, backstage passes, flyers, posters, shirts, press clips, and awards. Framed photos by renowned photographers and unreleased videos of interviews and TV appearances will be available for viewing. The archive will also feature large stage backdrops, stained-glass pieces, props from live performances, and an extensive collection of Deadhead fan mail and gifts.
Because of the monumental size and scope of the archive, a fundraising campaign has been launched to support it and to endow a permanent Grateful Dead archivist position, according to Christine Bunting, head of Special Collections at the University Library.
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