Smithsonian Collections

Woody Guthrie

Image for Woody Guthrie
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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.
Sid Grossman, 1913 - 1955
Woody Guthrie, 14 Jul 1912 - 3 Oct 1967
c. 1946-1948
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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")
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Music\Musical instrument\Guitar
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Bench
Woody Guthrie: Visual Arts\Artist
Woody Guthrie: Male
Woody Guthrie: Literature\Writer\Poet
Woody Guthrie: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
Woody Guthrie: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Guitarist
Woody Guthrie: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Folk
Restrictions & Rights
© Miriam Grossman Cohen