Woody Guthrie: People Are the Song at The Morgan Library & Museum, February 18 – May 22, 2022 

“The Morgan Library & Museum presents Woody Guthrie: People Are the Song, opening February 18, 2022, and running through May 22, 2022. Curated in collaboration with the Woody Guthrie Center, Woody Guthrie Publications, and music historian Bob Santelli, the exhibition tells the story of the great American troubadour and writer Woody Guthrie in his own words and by his own hand. On view is an extraordinary selection of musical instruments, handwritten lyrics, manuscripts, photographs, books, art, and audiovisual media, assembled from the preeminent holdings of the Woody Guthrie Archive and several private collections. Prominent among these rarely seen objects are the original, handwritten lyrics to ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ one of the world’s most famous protest songs, which Guthrie composed just a few blocks away from the Morgan in 1940. More than eighty years later, this song remains enduringly popular, as Guthrie’s words maintain a vital relevance today.

An icon of the Depression era and the author of more than three thousand folk songs, Woody Guthrie (1912–1967) is one of the most influential songwriters and recording artists in American history. But he was not only a songwriter, and his subject matter extended well beyond labor politics. The full corpus of his creativity—including lyrics, poetry, artwork, and largely unpublished prose writings—encompassed topics such as the environment, love, sex, spirituality, family, and racial justice. Guthrie developed a personal philosophy that has impacted generations of Americans and inspired musician-activists from Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen to Ani DiFranco and Chuck D. As Bob Dylan noted of Guthrie, ‘You could listen to his songs and actually learn how to live’.” — The Morgan Library & Museum

Photo by Robin Carson, Courtesy of the Woody Guthrie Archive.
Photo by Lester Balog, Courtesy of the Woody Guthrie Archive.
Photo by Eric Schaal, Courtesy of the Woody Guthrie Archive.
Original handwritten lyric to “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
Original handwritten lyric to “California Stars” by Woody Guthrie ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
Original cartoon by Woody Guthrie ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
Original oil painting by Woody Guthrie titled “In El Rancho Grande” ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. Courtesy of Barry & Judy Ollman.
Original handwritten notebook by Woody Guthrie, March 18-19, 1942. ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
Original hand drawn birth announcement for Arlo Guthrie by Woody Guthrie ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
Original artwork by Woody Guthrie titled “Dance Around” ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
New Years Rulin’s by Woody Guthrie, December 31, 1942. ©Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.

Images courtesy The Morgan Library & Museum.