After two years of cataloging, the Lou Reed Archive opened Friday within the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which will issue a limited edition library card featuring the rock legend to mark the occasion.
The Lincoln Center branch of the New York Public Library acquired the Reed archive in 2017 and with it “approximately 300 linear feet of paper records, electronic records, and photographs, and approximately 3,600 audio and 1,300 video recordings,” the library stated.
“The archive spans Reed’s creative life—from his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades, his job as a staff songwriter for the budget music label, Pickwick Records, and his rise to prominence through The Velvet Underground and subsequent solo career, to his final performances in 2013,” the New York Public Library said.
“The collection comprises studio notes, galleys and proofs, master and unreleased recordings, business papers, personal correspondence, poster art, fan gifts, rare printed material and Reed’s substantial photography collection.”
Laurie Anderson, Reed’s widow, told the New York Times of the archive, “It’s very important to be able to present raw material and let people make up their own minds.”
The collection opened Friday at the Lincoln Center branch; Reed’s 1989 LP New York, celebrating its 30th anniversary, will be highlighted as part of a display running now through March 28th. On that same day, for one day only, the library’s Vincent Astor Gallery will convert into the Lou Reed Listening Room, giving visitors access to the unreleased recordings from the Velvet Underground singer.
The New York Public Library is also offering a limited run 6,000 library cards boasting the photographer Mick Rock’s iconic image of Reed seen on the cover of 1972’s Transformer. New York residents can visit the NYPL site for more information on the card.