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Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie
Usage Conditions Apply
Sid Grossman, 25 Jun 1913 - 31 Dec 1955
Woody Guthrie, 14 Jul 1912 - 3 Oct 1967
c. 1946-1948
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 33.4 x 25.9cm (13 1/8 x 10 3/16")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Miriam Grossman Cohen
Object number
Exhibition Label
Woody Guthrie was a songwriter and folksinger who created the genre of "Americana" music, and he is the link between Walt Whitman, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ani DiFranco, and Wilco. He grew up an "Okie" during the Great Depression and wrote a series of Dust Bowl ballads crystallizing that experience. Guthrie affected a folksy persona as a hillbilly bard, but he was more a wandering bohemian, often unable to meet his family obligations. An avowed socialist and labor-union activist, he created the modern protest song and thought of himself as a voice of the voiceless. He believed songs should be weapons of psychological liberation and scrawled "This Machine Kills Fascists" across his guitar. Guthrie often ended shows by saying, "Take it easy, but take it," recommending a certain cool self-possession in the face of economic oppression. Many Americans consider Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land" to be the real national anthem.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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