Stanford University’s Music Library & Archive of Recorded Sound received a special gift donated by Bram Dijkstra, professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, and renowned literary agent Sandra Dijkstra. Stanford now holds a culturally in-depth collection of Black music valued at over $2.3 million.
The Dijkstra Black Music Collection includes a range of genres of over 8,000 jazz, blues, gospel, soul and reggae records.
According to Essence, the collection features original and pre-recordings of John Coltrane’s catalog, Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldiers,” and a few Hip Hop LPs.
The music collection is nearly 65 years in the making. Bram Dijkstra’s passion for music collecting led him to document the history of music and all its genres.
The retired professor recalls in 1955 while listening to a record by the New Miles Davis Quintet, his love of music and its history sparked.
“I admired Miles Davis’s clear, coherent trumpet, but I was shocked into incredulous admiration by the hoarse, abrasive, yet melodious solos of the young tenor saxophone player Miles was featuring here for the first time, someone with the rather strange name of John Coltrane,” Bram said in a statement.
The digital library will also include physical discs, sleeves, and liner notes. Students and faculty will be able to access the library by appointment at Stanford’s ARS.
According to Tamar Barzel, the head music librarian at Stanford, they will abide by audio preservation practices to upkeep the condition.
“The ARS was founded in 1958 to preserve sound recordings as a core part of our cultural heritage,” Barzel said. “Bram’s collection is a remarkable document of jazz, Black American music, and Jamaican reggae, and his curatorial vision is really special in its depth, breadth and scope.”
The music collection donation came in at the same time as the launch of Stanford’s African and African American Studies Department. The institution will hold an event in honor of the music collection on February 13 at the Cecil H. Green Library.