This Land Was Made For You and Me
to enlarge |Artist: Charles
Sponsor: Oklahoma Gazette
Size: 20" x 28"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: 4th floor, Rotundra
Singer, songwriter, author and
social activist, Woody Guthrie was exposed to music and
politics at an early age. He would combine the two in his
career to become America’s first true folk hero.
Guthrie wrote hundreds of songs, including such classics
as This Land is Your Land; So Long, It’s
Been Good to Know You; and Oklahoma Hills,
the official Oklahoma State Folksong. The colorful life
he led became as legendary as the songs he wrote.
Born July 14, 1912 in Okemah,
Oklahoma, his father was a real-estate broker and politician
who fell on hard times and his mother suffered from Huntington's
Disease, a genetic nerve disorder that led to her death.
Guthrie learned how to play guitar, mandolin, fiddle and
harmonica in his adolescence. He also read and wrote voraciously,
drew cartoons and painted. During the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s,
Guthrie traveled and slept among migrants and hobos, accumulating
the life experiences that fed his songs, stories and autobiography, Bound
for Glory. Moving to New York in 1940, Guthrie
continued to record music and perform on radio, but played
at worker strikes and rallies. All the while, the self-taught
folksinger studied politics, economics, science and religion.
By mid-decade, Guthrie began experiencing bouts of depression
and disorientation that signaled the onset of Huntington's.
His health slowly deteriorated and he was eventually confined
When he died on October 3rd,
1967, Guthrie left behind eight children and about a thousand
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