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Guide to the Elizabeth Cohen Collection MS.343
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Separated Materials

  • Title: Elizabeth Cohen Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.343
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 6.0 containers (1) box, documents; (1) box, T-shirts; (1) box, realia; (3) items, over-sized realia
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1977-1991
    Date (inclusive): 1948 - 2010
    creator: Cohen, Elizabeth, (Elizabeth A.)
    creator: Hart, Mickey
    creator: Weir, Bob, 1947-

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection comprises documents, apparel, musical instruments, and equipment used in, or acquired during, Elizabeth Cohen's work with Grateful Dead band members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart on various projects.


    Dr. Elizabeth Cohen is a physicist who specializes in acoustics. As an undergraduate at Bennington College in Vermont she combined her interest in music and physics, earning degrees in both fields in 1975. She earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering at Stanford after completing a two-year program at Bell Labs, going on to earn her PhD in acoustics from Stanford. She retired as a professor of Film and Information studies at UCLA, where she also served as a board member of UCLA's Moving Image Preservation Program. In addition to her academic appointments at Stanford and UCLA, she founded her own consulting firm, Cohen Acoustical, in 1981, working with an array of clients including the Hollywood Bowl, Dolby Laboratories, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She served as the president of the Audio Engineering Society and was an engineering fellow to the White House National Economic Council. Her work with the Grateful Dead included research with Bob Weir to develop an electric guitar, a collaboration that resulted in a coauthored article, "The Influence of Signal Processing Devices on the Timbre Perception of Electrical Guitars," published in the Journal of Guitar Acoustics, no. 6 (1982). She went on to work with Mickey Hart and UC Santa Cruz music professor Fredric Lieberman on several projects relating to drumming, percussion and rhythm, which informed the books Drumming at the Edge of Magic (1990), Planet Drum (1991), and Spirit into Sound (1999). As one journalist observed, "The effusive Cohen speaks about acoustical technology with a fervor approaching evangelism" (Karen Kaplan, “The Sounds Inside Our Heads,” Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1997).

    Separated Materials

    (2) backstage passes, Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden, Sept. 12, 1991, removed and filed with MS350, Deadhead Contributions, Backstage Passes.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Grateful Dead (Musical group)