Colbert Cartwright Collection of Bob Dylan Recordings and Research Files

Identifier: MUSIC-039

Collection Overview


The Colbert Cartwright Collection of Bob Dylan Concert Recordings and Research Files is made up of articles and bootleg Bob Dylan recordings that Cartright compiled when writing two books and numerous articles about the performer.


  • Majority of material found in 1960-1996


30 Linear Feet (49 boxes)


Scope and Contents

The collection consists of research material collected by Cartwright as he analyzed Bob Dylan's lyrics and researched the connections between Christian theology and Dylan's lyrics from 1965 until the 1990s. The collection contains news clippings, articles, books, and other printed information about Bob Dylan collected by Cartwright, sometimes in its original form and other times photocopied, as well as Cartwright's index of printed references to Dylan, kept on index cards. There are also hundreds of audio and video recordings of non-commercial Bob Dylan material, including television and radio interviews, outtakes and demos, and bootleg concert recordings. Of particular note is the interview that Cartwright conducted with a the widow of Norman Raeben, an art teacher and confidante of Dylan's, as well as the collection of Cartwright's manuscripts, drafts, and research notes.

Biographical / Historical

Colbert "Bert" Cartwright was born in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1924, grew up mainly in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis in 1946. Later he earned a Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology from Yale in 1948 and 1950, respectively.

In 1965, a decade and a half into his career as a minister in the Disciples of Christ church, Cartwright became interested in Bob Dylan, particularly connections to theology in Dylan's lyrics. Cartwright went on to catalogue the religious references in Dylan's lyrics, focusing particularly on Dylan's works from 1961-1978, before Dylan's conversion to Christianity, though Cartwright was also interested in literary analysis of Dylan's lyrics regardless of theological content.

While undertaking his research, Cartwright corresponded with other Dylan researchers worldwide and amassed a large collection of research material, particularly audiovisual material of Dylan's live concerts, bootlegs and demos, and interviews. Cartwright's research spawned several short popular press articles and book-length works Dylan, most notably his self-published work, The Bible in the Lyrics of Bob Dylan and Annotated Dylan: A Critical Analysis of the Lyrics of Bob Dylan. In addition to his publications, Cartwright consulted on radio and video projects relating to Dylan.

In addition to his work on Dylan, Cartwright published religious and devotional texts and served congregations in several states. Notably, while a minister in Little Rock, Arkansas, Cartwright led a movement to integrate the Little Rock public schools in 1957 and founded the Arkansas Council of Human Relations Commission.

Cartwright retired from his final post in Fort Worth, Texas in 1989 but continued his scholarly pursuits after his retirement, including his Dylan research. Cartwright passed away in 1996.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for use. Audio and video materials must be digitized before they can be accessed. Contact archivist at repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into six series, loosely based on Cartwright's original order: I. News clippings and articles; II. Book length works; III. Cartwright manuscripts; IV. Other research materials; V. Interview, performance, and bootleg cassette tapes; VI. Interview, performance, and bootleg videocassettes.

Separated Materials

Cartwright's book, The Bible in the Lyrics of Bob Dylan, has been cataloged separately and his held in the Bill Schurk Sound Archives rare books area (call # ML54.8 .C37 1985). Most books, periodicals, and songbooks that Cartwright donated with his research materials were separated and cataloged individually; they remain in the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives and can be found in the library catalog.

Related Materials

Additional Colbert Cartwright collections, including scrapbooks and a manuscript of Cartwright's autobiography, reside at the University of Arkansas, MC 1026 and MC 2113, respectively.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift from Mrs. Anne Quarles Cartwright, October 1996.


Guide to the Colbert Cartwright Collection of Bob Dylan Concert Recordings and Research Files
David R. Lewis
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description