Woody Guthrie Archive Planned for Tulsa

2012 marks centennial of folk icon's birth

December 28, 2011 11:00 AM ET
Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The city of Tulsa, Okla., will mark the centennial of the birth of native son Woody Guthrie with a kickoff event in March for a planned archive and museum dedicated to the late folk singer.

According to the New York Times, the George Kaiser Family Foundation plans to announce this week that it has paid Guthrie's family $3 million for the archive and will build a study center in his name. The vast archive includes dozens of notebooks, sketchbooks and manuscripts, more than 500 artworks and over 3000 scraps of paper on which the prolific singer wrote song lyrics. The March 10th event, sponsored by the Grammy Museum, will feature the singer's son, Arlo Guthrie, and others.

Some see the flurry of activity as belated recognition from the singer's home state. The singer, best known for writing "This Land Is Your Land" and the autobiography Bound for Glory, left a legacy sometimes tarnished by those who view him mainly as a Communist sympathizer. Guthrie, who died in 1967 of Huntington's disease, was not enshrined in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame until 2006.

In recent years musicians including Billy Bragg, Wilco, Tom Morello and Jackson Browne have interpreted unrecorded lyrics the singer left behind.     

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