UC Santa Cruz Taps Nicholas Meriwether To Be New Archivist For Grateful Dead Archive
The University of California, Santa Cruz, has appointed Nicholas Meriwether as the new archivist for the campus’s historic Grateful Dead Archive.
Meriwether comes to Santa Cruz from the University of South Carolina, where he has served as Oral Historian in the South Caroliniana Library for the past five years. His background experience includes work as an educational, research, and rare-book consultant. Meriwether holds a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, plus a Masters in Library Science–with a specialization in archives–from the University of South Carolina.
His research on the Grateful Dead, their cultural significance, and their impact on late 20th century society has resulted in a number of publications. Meriwether is the editor of All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007), as well as four volumes of Dead Letters: Essays on the Grateful Dead Phenomenon (Dead Letters Press)
His writings on popular culture, music, literature and history have also appeared in numerous anthologies, journals, and books. “The Grateful Dead Archive at UC Santa Cruz represents an extraordinary collection with immense research value to academics and scholars from a wide range of disciplines—including historians, literary critics, musicologists, and others,” noted Meriwether.
“The material in this archive will enrich our understanding of a range of academic topics that extend far beyond the bounds of popular culture and American music,” he added. Meriwether’s role as archivist will be to provide managerial and curatorial oversight of the Grateful Dead Archive–planning and supervising the processing of all materials and facilitating the archive’s use by scholars, fans, and students.
“Nicholas is a perfect fit,” said University Librarian Ginny Steel. “We feel very fortunate that he is interested in this position because he has an excellent academic background and exactly the archival experience and training that we were seeking. He also brings deep connections to the Grateful Dead community that will enhance his work as he helps us build and expand the archive.”
The Grateful Dead donated their extensive band archive to UC Santa Cruz in 2008. Representing one of the most significant popular culture collections of the 20th century, it documents the band’s remarkable creative activity and influence in contemporary music history. “I just can’t imagine that there is a better person for this job than Nick Meriwether,” said David Gans, host and producer of the nationally syndicated “Grateful Dead Hour” and author of several books about the Grateful Dead.
“He is the embodiment of academic passion and scholarly dedication. I have spent countless hours in conversation with him about the Grateful Dead, and I have learned from him a great deal about academic rigor and the importance of getting all of this recorded properly for posterity,” Gans noted.
The archive includes a wealth of materials related to the phenomena of the Deadheads, the band’s far-reaching social network of devoted fans, and the Grateful Dead’s highly unusual and successful musical business ventures.
“The Grateful Dead Archive will be, like the Dead, something much more than it initially appears,” noted longtime Grateful Dead publicist and biographer Dennis McNally. “Just as the band was not merely a music group but an adventure, an odyssey, and a subculture, the Archive will reflect not only the Dead, but that most critical of post-war decades, the ineffable 1960s.”
The Grateful Dead Archive is expected to open in 2011, as the centerpiece of UCSC’s new and renovated McHenry Library.