Among the many curious items in the Bob Dylan Archive, a recently uncovered collection of over 6000 lyric notebooks, letters, recordings, films, and photographs that Dylan kept dating back to the earliest days of his career, is a handwritten note from Barbra Streisand postmarked November 1978. In the letter, the singer thanks Dylan for sending flowers and writes, “It would be wonderful to make a record with you — especially since I only record with Jewish guys who live in Malibu on CBS.” (“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” her hit with Neil Diamond, was released a month earlier.) Although there’s no evidence in the archive that Dylan ever wrote back, Streisand contacted The New York Times after reading an article about the archive to offer some backstory on the letter. As she says in a statement relayed by a spokesman:
I read the recent story in The New York Times about Bob Dylan’s archive, and I was so touched to find out he had saved a note from me.
It prompted me to go back into my own archive and retrieve a letter I had saved from him.
As I remember it, first he sent me flowers and a lovely note, asking me if I would like to sing with him. In return, I sent him the note that’s in his archive, thanking him for the flowers and the invitation. But for whatever reason, it never happened at the time.
Years later … when Yentl was about to come out [in 1983] … he sent me his latest album, along with the letter I still have. In it, he writes, “There are some songs on this album which I’m sure you would love to do.”
He adds, “I’m looking forward to seeing your movie. Maybe you can direct me in one of mine.” And then he goes on to say something that still means so much to me: “You are my favorite star. Your self-determination, wit and temperament and sense of justice have always appealed to me.”
I thought scholars, and fans, might like to know the story behind my note. And I plan to send a copy of his letter to Bob, so it can be included in his archive, as well as mine.
The Dylan Archive was purchased by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa and is being transferred to Oklahoma, where it will be exhibited near the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s Woody Guthrie Center.