Woody Guthrie

Musician, Artist, Writer

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land is made for you and Me.

One of Oklahoma’s most creative native sons is Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie. Born in Okemah,Oklahoma July 14, 1912 he became an American singer, songwriter and folk musician. His musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works. His best known song is “This Land Is Your Land”. However, Guthrie also wrote two autobiographical novels, numerous essays and articles, more than 1,000 songs and poems and hundreds of letters.

As a young boy, Woody visited the Okemah Public Library often and became a passionate reader. He grew to know the Bible well, along with history, political theories, literature and philosophy.

Woody traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California where he learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”. He describes his Dust Bowl days in his autobiographical novel, Bound For Glory.

Oklahoma’s state folk song is Oklahoma Hills written by Woody Guthrie. Guthrie died October 3, 1967.

Woody’s daughter Nora shares her reflections of her famous father in this interview recorded Oct. 7, 2010.

Interview with Nora Guthrie

Program Credits:
Nora Guthrie — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
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Music Credit: This Land is your Land by Woody Guthrie from This Land is your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1. Smithsonian Folkways SFW40100 provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 1997 used by permission

Photo Credits: Home Page Slide – Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-111157]. World-Telegram photo.

Date Created: October 7, 2010

Date Published: August 31, 2011

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.