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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame receives largest archival gift ever: 100,000+ photos from Baron Wolman collection

Many of the collection’s images have never or rarely been seen by the public.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story was originally published on Jan. 13, 2021. 

Baron Wolman was one of the most prominent rock ‘n’ roll photographers. Now, more than 100,000 images from Wolman’s collection have been donated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's the largest archival gift in the Rock Hall's history.

“We are incredibly honored to preserve Baron’s legacy and his extraordinary collection, and are grateful for this generous gift,” said Greg Harris, President & CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “His collection, an integral part of rock history, captures the passion and energy of rock & roll’s most influential performers and immortalizes them for generations.”

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Last summer, Wolman worked with Rock Hall curators to select photographs from his collection for exhibition. The "Iconic: Baron Wolman Images of an Era" exhibit is on view at the museum and virtually at rockhall.com through December 2021.

Here are highlights from the collection as outlined by the Rock Hall:

  • Jimi Hendrix onstage at Fillmore West
  • Grateful Dead posing outside 710 Ashbury Street
  • Pete Townshend performing at Cow Palace
  • Joni Mitchell in her Laurel Canyon home and Grace Slick at Woodstock Festival.
Credit: Baron Wolman / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Jimi Hendrix photo from the Baron Wolman collection at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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“The exhibit showcases Wolman’s unique ability to reveal the spirit and character of artists, both humanizing them and elevating them,” Rock Hall officials said. “His images defined the visual landscape of an unparalleled time in American history.”

The Rock Hall also notes that the collection includes “all of Wolman’s negatives, transparencies, photographic prints, correspondence and other documents, copies of his published books, and countless magazines with his images on the cover. Wolman was Rolling Stone magazine’s first chief photographer. Many of the collection’s images have never or rarely been seen by the public.”

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Wolman, who passed away in November 2020, said it gave him comfort and solace knowing his life’s work will be protected and shared for years to come.

“I could not have asked for a more perfect home,” Wolman said. “Perfect, too, because the Archive returns to the Buckeye state, as I was born and grew up in Columbus.”

The Rock Hall, which has been closed the general public for weeks amid COVID-19 concerns, will reopen on Jan. 17 with limited capacity.

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