Skip to Main Content

The Grateful Dead Archive

@ UCSC Special Collections & Archives

Read our Grateful Dead Annual Reports!



2021 Annual Report, featuring a conversation with David Lemieux and a reflection by Lucy DaSilva 





2020 Annual Report, featuring a conversation with Bill Monning, California State Senator and Dead Head

About the Grateful Dead Archive

“It seemed to all of us that the stuff really belongs to the community that supported us for all those years. And Santa Cruz seemed the coziest possible home for it.” - Bob Weir


What is the Grateful Dead Archive?

The Grateful Dead Archive is made up of nearly a thousand boxes of documents and recordings as well as hundreds of objects, equipment, and framed art, all of which were created or collected by the members of this iconic band over the course of decades of making their music, touring, operating their business, and connecting with their fans. This archive, given to UC Santa Cruz by the Grateful Dead, is located in the University Library’s Special Collections & Archives, where archivists work to preserve, organize, and describe this and other archival collections to ensure these materials can be consulted by scholars, teachers, students, and fans. 

UC Santa Cruz has also collaborated with the California Digital Library, the Internet Archive, and other partners to create the Grateful Dead Archive Online, where over 45,000 digitized items from the Grateful Dead Archive at UC Santa Cruz are shared alongside digital content submitted by the worldwide community of Grateful Dead fans.

"It started off in my little closet" at the Dead's headquarters in San Rafael, "and it kept growing and growing, and now it fills up a warehouse." - Eileen Law


What’s in the Grateful Dead Archive? majority of the Grateful Dead Archive documents the years 1970–1995, though some materials date to before and after that period. Specific strengths of the band’s archive include:

  • business records documenting tours and concerts
  • posters, artwork, and merchandise documenting the Grateful Dead's broader commercial efforts
  • materials like thousands of decorated envelopes, fan art, and correspondence that reveal the extraordinary bond the band forged with their fans, the Deadheads
  • full runs of both the Dead Heads newsletters and the later Grateful Dead Almanac


Related Materials in Special Collections & Archives addition to the band's own archive, Special Collections & Archives also holds a variety of materials that support related research. These include:

  • related archival collections: notebooks and recordings of Dick Latvala of “Dick’s Picks” fame; historian Dennis McNally’s research notes and band interviews; thousands of objects and letters left by fans at Jerry Garcia’s memorial altar in Golden Gate Park in 1995; and many more
  • recordings: although the band still controls its legendary tape Vault, Special Collections & Archives holds copies of commercially released recordings
  • books: the band's own library, as well as many additional publications on the band


Learn More

The "Conducting Research" tab at the above left will lead to detailed information how to explore and access the Grateful Dead Archive as well as related collections.


“If you want to know how the Dead was built, this is where you would go...the archive tells the whole story." - Mickey Hart, Rolling Stone Magazine, April 1, 2010