The Woody Guthrie Archives are coming to Tulsa, thanks to the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The Foundation recently purchased the comprensive archives from Woody Guthrie Publications in New York.
The Kaiser Family Foundation plans to work to get a permanent home for the collection in the Brady District to open in late 2012. It will be called the "Woody Guthrie Center," according to Ken Levit, Foundation executive director.
"The Guthrie family has inspired us through its brilliant, loving and creative stewardship of these remarkable materials. We plan to make the Woody Guthrie Archive available to scholars, artists and the general public so the story of this extraordinary Oklahoman can be told for generations to come," said Levit.
The archive also includes nearly 3,000 song lyrics, rare books by and about Guthrie, more than 700 pieces of artwork, letters and postcards, along with manuscripts and personal journals. Guthrie's original handwritten copy of "This Land Is Your Land" is also in the archive.
“Woody Guthrie is the greatest American folk singer/songwriter of all time,” said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “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.”
Guthrie was born in 1912 in Okemah. His songs include "This Land Is Your Land," "Talking Dust Bowl Blues," and "Hard Travelin'."