Save $10 on orders over $100 with code MIDWINTER10

Defining Grateful Dead, With Primary Sources

by LITTLE HIPPIE April 22, 2015

Owlsley Book ClubEvery now and again you meet with an object that gives you physical proximity, and makes you feel a connection to a moment that resonates deeply across time and space. In this case, THEE dictionary edition referenced by Jerry Garcia as the primary source for the band’s name, now on view at the UC Santa Cruz Grateful Dead Archive.

 

From Blair Jackson’s Garcia: An American Life:

“One day we were over al Phil [Lesh]’s house… He had a big dictionary. I opened it and there was ‘Grateful Dead’, those words juxtaposed. It was one of those moments, you know, like everything else went blank, diffuse, just sort of oozed away, and there was GRATEFUL DEAD in big, black letters edged all around in gold, man, blasting out at me, such a stunning combination. So I said, ‘How about Grateful Dead’? And that was it.” – Jerry Garcia

The Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionary defines Grateful Dead as:

“The motif of a cycle of folk tales which begin with the hero’s coming upon a group of people ill-treating or refusing to bury the corpse of a man who had died without paying his debts. He gives his last penny, either to pay the man’s debts or to give him a decent burial. Within a few hours he meets with a travelling companion who aids him in some impossible task, gets him a fortune, saves his life, etc. The story ends with the companion’s disclosing himself as the man whose corpse the other had befriended.”

For more on the folklore, check out The Grateful Dead the History of a Folk Story by Gordon Hall Gerould, which at least a few people have bought thinking it was about the band.

Next, how the Grateful Dead went from this dictionary edition to embodying the folk motif that defined their name.




LITTLE HIPPIE
LITTLE HIPPIE

Author



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Little Hippie Life

Supporting the Big Bud Press Kickstarter

by LITTLE HIPPIE February 10, 2018

Here at Little Hippie we have a few brand crushes, and Big Bud Press is at the top of that list. We love their bright colors, their fun graphics, and the way they integrate their creativity across all elements of their business from their products, to their website, to their Instagram, and all stops in […]

Read More

Yucatán, Can you? You can! (I did)

by Taylor Swope January 30, 2018

Three weeks ago I left the country for the first time in almost twelve years. As someone who once loved living in France so much I almost married a French guy so I could stay out of America forever, this is crazy to me. Here’s the story of that trip, with some Yucatán travel tips, local recommendations and a few things to avoid in Mexico too. This is a long one, more of a story than a travel blog post, with some quick links if you'd like to skip ahead to one of the locations I visited.

Read More

Wishing you a wonderful winter!

by LITTLE HIPPIE December 22, 2017

As we're wrapping up the last of our holiday order packing here at Little Hippie, I am taking a moment to reflect on the past year. This is my typical winter solstice routine, as the postal deadline for Christmas packages always falls on or next to the darkest day of the year. Winter is always my most creative season. As the light returns, so too does the inspiration.

Read More