Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art • Words and Wisdom
November 16, 2021 | Chronicle Books



Curated by Songwriter’s Daughter, New Book Explores the Cultural Icon Through His Own Words, Drawings, and Journals

Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art • Words and Wisdom
By Nora Guthrie and Robert Santelli
Release Date: November 16, 2021
ISBN: 9781797211787
8.5” x 11” • 340 pages • Full color • $40
Chronicle BooksThe Woody Guthrie Store


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Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) is widely recognized as America’s greatest folk singer and songwriter. While his life was cut-short in his 50’s by Huntington’s disease, the volume, scope and influence of his work is immense and far-reaching. A powerful voice for justice, and the author of more than 3,000 songs (including “This Land Is Your Land”), he was also a poet, painter, illustrator, novelist, journal keeper, profuse letter writer, and philosopher.

Curated by his daughter Nora Guthrie and music historian Robert Santelli the new book Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art • Words and Wisdom (Nov. 16, 2021, $40, Chronicle Books) delves into his archives, giving unprecedented access and visibility to his lyrics, art, and correspondence; and spotlights Guthrie’s passionate social politics which are as vital today as ever.

The book has deep meaning for Nora Guthrie: “Bob Dylan once said, ‘You could listen to his songs and actually learn how to live’. That line sums up what my life has evidenced. As his daughter, this is how he taught me how to live. His songs, his art, his secret journal entries, his essays full of clear and sometimes explosive ideas, have been there all my life teaching me how to live. These are the ideals that I’ve been encouraged to strive for, to reach up to, to think about. Now it’s time for me to put together my selections from all these teachings – thoughts on politics, on religion, on relationships, on children, and more – that have benefited me most, so that others can discover and benefit from them.”

This fresh, intimate, and vibrantly visual book brings to life Woody’s story through facsimiles of his own personal writings, photos, and artwork. Woody wrote powerfully about economic inequality, immigration reform, fascism, war, corruption from unbridled capitalism, patriotism, environmentalism, as well as spirituality of all kinds, love, and family.

Readers will get to know Guthrie through his own words and art including:

  • Over 90 original handwritten and typed lyrics to classic and well-known songs such as Oklahoma Hills, Pretty Boy Floyd, Deportee, The Ballad of Harriet Tubman, All You Fascists, California Stars, I’m Shipping Up To Boston, Joe DiMaggio and Riding In My Car.
  • Illustrated pages from his journals, and notebooks of the people he met, ideas he considered, and issues he confronted.
  • Private letters to friends, family, and fellow creators that illuminate his inner thoughts, deliberations, and celebrations.
  • Photographs from his personal collection including from his time in military service, gigs on the road, photos with fellow musicians, and family snapshots.

Featuring contributions by Douglas Brinkley, Rosanne Cash, Chuck D, Jeff Daniels, Ani DiFranco, and Arlo Guthrie this stunningly visual collection is surprising, enlightening, inspiring, and edifying, spotlighting Woody Guthrie as a significant guiding voice and citizen of the world.



NORA GUTHRIE is the daughter of Woody Guthrie and president of Woody Guthrie Publications. She served as president of the Woody Guthrie Foundation for over 30 years, founded the Woody Guthrie Archive in 1992, and the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2013. She is the executive producer of numerous GRAMMY award winning albums recording hundreds of her father’s previously unknown lyrics. ROBERT SANTELLI is the founding executive director of the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, a GRAMMY winner,  and the author of more than a dozen books on American music. He also developed the Tulsa-based Woody Guthrie Center with Nora Guthrie and was vice president of Education and Public Programs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.


About Chronicle Books ~

Founded in 1967 in San Francisco, Chronicle Books is one of the world’s most admired publishers and distributors of illustrated books, gifts, and games for all ages. Its highly acclaimed list spans art, photography, food, lifestyle, pop culture, humor, self-help, wellness, children’s books, and stationery, among other categories. Chronicle is the home of numerous award-winning authors, bestselling series, and trend-setting titles. Chronicle Books is committed to partnering with artists and writers who represent the diversity of our world and to maintaining an inclusive and equitable working environment for its employees and business partners. For more information visit www.chroniclebooks.com


The book can be ordered directly from Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. at the Woody Guthrie Store.


Press Contact: April Whitney
T: 415.537.4253
E: april_whitney(at)chroniclebooks.com




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