This collection consists of the visual works of art and related correspondence amassed
during the late 20th and early 21st centuries by the American rock and roll group the
Grateful Dead. These works were created over the span of 50 years by the band members, their
fanbase, and professional artists who designed works for merchandising purposes, with the
majority of works dating from the 1980s to the 2000s. Works created by professional artists
in the Business Art component include numerous design mock-ups that utilized the Grateful
Dead's established visual iconography for albums, t-shirts, posters, and various items of
ephemera. The Fan Art component contains contributions donated by the fanbase of the
Grateful Dead and includes paintings, illustrations, models, plush toys, audience signage
displayed during performances, sculptures, collage works, stained glass panels, prints, and
artist portfolios. The Band Art component contains visual materials created by the members
of the Grateful Dead and includes sketches, illustrations, and paintings.
The Grateful Dead were an American rock band that formed in 1965 in Northern California.
They came to fame as part of author Ken Kesey's Acid Tests, a series of multimedia
happenings centered around then-legal LSD. Famed for their concerts, the band performed more
than 2,300 shows over thirty years, disbanding after the death of lead guitarist Jerry
Garcia in August 1995. Although their only Top 10 hit, "Touch of Grey," charted in 1987,
their popularity was based on concerts, and in their last decade they consistently placed in
the top five tours every year. Known for the range of their repertoire and the caliber of
their compositions, the Dead's songbook has been covered by a wide range of other musicians,
from Bob Dylan to Jane's Addiction. They released thirteen studio albums and nine
contemporary live albums during their career, and more than 100 live releases since then.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
175 Linear Feet
40 boxes, 9 map-case drawers, and 103 oversized items
Property rights for this collection reside with the University of California. Literary
rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. The publication
or use of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use for research or
educational purposes requires written permission from the copyright owner. Responsibility
for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more
information on copyright or to order a reproduction, please visit
Collection is open for research. Advance notice is required to access large and framed
items so that they can be retrieved from storage. Please contact Special Collections and
Archives in advance to request access.