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Abstract

On August 9, 1995, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead was found dead of a heart attack. Four days later, a public memorial for Garcia, held in Golden Gate Park, was attended by the band and almost 25,000 fans. Underneath an enormous portrait of Garcia, fans deposited letters, artwork, pictures, and a vast array of personal offerings in memory of the late musician. The "altar" materials, as they were called, were eventually gifted to the University of California Santa Cruz, now home of the Grateful Dead’s archives. Out of context, the 3,100 individual items of the collection might seem haphazard or inconsequential; together, they represent a material outpouring of the grief and joy experienced by Deadheads in the wake of Garcia's death.

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