The Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis has acquired a nationally important collection of rare soul records from Chicago music historian and archivist Bob Abrahamian. The collection includes more than 35,000 singles and albums alongside memorabilia and photography, much of it focused on lesser-known Chicago soul musicians.
“While his obsession with discovering and coveting impossibly rare records was typical of many high-end collectors, his dedication to telling the stories of the men and women behind these sweet soul records, and the kindness he showed to these unjustly obscure cultural heroes, was something special,” journalist Jake Austin said in a statement. “His record collection is worth a great deal of money, but the work he did documenting Chicago R&B and giving its practitioners the reverence and dignity they deserved was priceless.”
According to the Director of Collections and Exhibitions Raka Nandi, the museum is in the process of “studying why and how Bob Abrahamian amassed such a vast collection and how he became such a public, outspoken advocate of these artists. The museum will eventually display highlights of the collection as part of the exhibit offerings, and will also make the archive available to researchers and scholars.
Abrahamian started his collecting in the Nineties, which turned into a lifelong project of documenting the less-known soul and R&B artists of Sixties Chicago. Abrahamian died at the age of 35 in 2014.