Woody Guthrie Archive Finds Home in Oklahoma

A comprehensive archive of folk singer Woody Guthrie’s writings, records and artwork will find a new home in his native Oklahoma and will be displayed at a new center in downtown Tulsa. The Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation recently purchased the collection from Woody Guthrie Publications. Nora Guthrie, the late singer-songwriter’s daughter, had previously housed the material at her home in Mount Kisko, N.Y. Woody Guthrie’s other children included noted singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie. Woody Guthrie was born in Okemah, Okla., in 1912, and became famous for writing songs such as “This Land Is Your Land,” “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” and “Hard Travelin’.” He died in 1967 of Huntington’s disease. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa is scheduled to open in late 2012. The archives will arrive in early 2013. Referring to Guthrie as “the greatest American folk singer-songwriter of all time,” Oklahoma Historical Society executive director Bob Blackburn said, “His art is deeply connected to Oklahoma’s people and its history. It reflects the Oklahoma experience, from mobility and immigration to diversity and the longing for a sense of community. Whether it was the Indian forced onto a reservation, a farmer looking for new land or an oilman driven to find one more gusher, Woody gave voice to their hopes and dreams.”