Arthur Russell archives acquired by New York library

Anyone will be able to look through the unreleased material

The archives of the late Arthur Russell have been obtained by the New York Public Library for Performing Arts.

The archives contain letters, photographs, unreleased recorded material contained on cassette tapes, VHS, reel, DATs, and Beta, and more.

According to The New York Times, once the archive’s papers have been digitally logged, visitors to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will be able to explore its contents. The unreleased material will be digitally logged and made available for listening, too. The process is expected to take up to a year to complete.


The archive is listed as spanning 166 linear feet, was acquired by Russell’s partner Tom Lee. The library’s curator Jonathan Ham said it’s the largest amount of material documenting a composer’s creative process that the library has ever received.

Russell died in 1992 of an Aids-related illness. An Arthur Russell tribute album was released back in 2014 and featured contributions from the likes of Hot Chip, Scissor Sisters and Robyn.

The album was titled ‘Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell’ and raised funds for the Red Hot Organization, an HIV/Aids charity. Twin Shadow, Washed Out, José Gonzalez, Blood Orange, Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly and Owen Pallett also featured on the charity album, as well as Devendra Banhart and Phosphorescent.