Archive of Bob Dylan love letters to old flame earns $669K

Group of period Bob Dylan materials, including some of the 42 love letters that sold collectively for $669,875. The photographs were offered as separate lots. Image courtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

Group of period Bob Dylan materials, including some of the 42 love letters that sold collectively for $669,875. The photographs were offered as separate lots. Image courtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

BOSTON – An archive of 42 love letters written by Bob Dylan to a high school sweetheart, Barbara Ann Hewitt, sold for $669,875 at RR Auction on November 17. The Hewitt archive, in total, contains more than 150 pages of autograph material written between 1958 and 1959.

Wide-ranging in scope and content, the young Dylan reveals his dreams of changing his name and selling a million records, offers bits and pieces of poetry, and professes his never-ending affection. He prepares for the Hibbing High talent show; invites Barbara to the Buddy Holly show in Duluth; speaks of singing, songwriting and recording; and comments on the cars, clothing and music of the late 1950s.

Period photograph of Barbara Ann Hewitt, recipient of the 42 love letters from young Bob Dylan. Image courtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

Period photograph of Barbara Ann Hewitt, recipient of the 42 love letters from young Bob Dylan. Image courtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

Every letter is accompanied by its original mailing envelope addressed in Dylan’s hand, with nearly all signed on the flap, simply, as “Bob.” Also included are a signed Valentine’s Day card and a brief unsigned handwritten note.

All 42 love letters survive with their envelopes, hand-addressed by Dylan and signed “Bob” on the flap. The archive sold for $669,875 on November 17. Image courtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

All 42 love letters survive with their envelopes, hand-addressed by Dylan and most signed “Bob” on the flap. The archive sold for $669,875 on November 17. Image courtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

“The archive documents the transformation of Bob Zimmerman into Bob Dylan, full of never before known facts from his formative years,” said RR Auction Executive VP Bobby Livingston.

Main lot shot of the 42 love letters Bob Dylan, then Bob Zimmerman, wrote to Barbara Ann Hewitt in the 1950s. Imagescourtesy of RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt


Main lot shot of the 42 love letters Bob Dylan, then Bob Zimmerman, wrote to Barbara Ann Hewitt in the 1950s. Courtesy RR Auction and © the estate of Barbara Hewitt

The winning bid came from Livraria Lello, an internationally renowned bookstore in the northern Portuguese municipality of Porto, which intends to keep the archive complete and make it available for both Bob Dylan fans and scholars to examine in the future.

Among other items originating from the Hewitt estate are early drawings and several photos, including one of the earliest signed Dylan photos known to exist, which sold for $24,361.

Additional highlights from the sale include another Bob Dylan archive consisting of 24 handwritten works collectively dubbed Poems Without Titles, which he penned while at the University of Minnesota. It sold for $249,563.

The Marvels of Modern Music Auction from RR Auction began October 26 and concluded November 17. For more information, go to www.rrauction.com.

 

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