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Woody Guthrie and the Archive of American Folk Song: Correspondence, 1940-1950
From the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

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Woody Guthrie and the Archive of American Folk Song: Correspondence, 1940-1950 highlights letters between Woody Guthrie and staff of the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center) at the Library of Congress. The letters were written primarily in the early 1940s, shortly after Guthrie had moved to New York City and met the Archive's assistant in charge, Alan Lomax. In New York Guthrie pursued broadcasting and recording careers, meeting a cadre of artists and social activists and gaining a reputation as a talented and influential songwriter and performer. His written and, occasionally, illustrated reflections on his past, his art, his life in New York City, and the looming Second World War provide unique insight into the artist best-known for his role as "Dust Bowl balladeer." The online presentation contains fifty-three items (eighty-four pages) of manuscript material by, about, and to Woody Guthrie, from 1940 to 1950. It is selected from material in the Woody Guthrie Manuscript Collection and the American Folklife Center's correspondence files. The presentation includes a biographical essay; a timeline of Guthrie's life; and an encoded finding aid of Guthrie archival materials at the Library of Congress.
The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library's National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.

The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

Special Presentation

Rambling Round: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie

Timeline of Woody Guthrie (1912-1967)

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