Mary Jo Guthrie
Woody Guthrie’s Sister, Artist & Writer
Mary Jo Guthrie loved her father—her “Pappa”—and her brothers, one being Woody Guthrie. Woody was ten years older than his sister, yet Mary Jo remembers how he would get down on the ground and play with her. “Pappa” taught Woody a variety of songs—western songs, Indian songs, etc. Mary Jo says her brother always had an instrument in his hands, whether it be a guitar, mandolin, or French harp. He would teach his sister how to play chords. However, she played nothing but the radio! “Pappa,” whose actual name was Charles, taught Woody art and penmanship as skills “to be refined.” Guy Logsdon, a Woody Guthrie historian, joins Mary Jo in remembering Woody as a very creative man with a photographic memory. Mary Jo comments that her brother always had paper and pencil in his shirt pocket. She states that government records found no documentation of Woody ever being a communist. She says, “That never came out in the papers.” Guy Logsdon, a former University of Tulsa professor, and Woody Guthrie’s sister, Mary Jo, remember Oklahoma’s Woody Guthrie.
Woody Guthrie’s little sister shares stories about one of America’s most renowned folk singers.
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: May 9, 2013
Date Published: March 3, 2015
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Bound for Glory, Bob Wills, Montgomery Ward, Communism, George Kaiser, Adolph Hitler, Huntington’s Disease, Dust Bowl, Woody’s Road, Joseph Stalin