Rare Recording of "This Land Is Your Land" One of the "Objects That Made America"
Woody Guthrie's 1944 recording of his anthem “This Land Is Your Land” from the Smithsonian Folkways collection is one of the artifacts included in The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, a new book by the Smithsonian’s Richard Kurin. In addition, the song is featured in Smithsonian Magazine’s November cover story 101 Objects That Made America and the upcoming Smithsonian Channel series Seriously Amazing Objects.
The 78 rpm acetate disc, part of the Smithsonian Folkways collection at the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, is the only known recording by Guthrie to include one of the two "missing" verses from the original written lyrics. For more than 50 years until Smithsonian archivist Jeff Place discovered the disc in 1996, the two verses were believed to only exist on paper. Both verses were sung by Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen at an Inaugural concert for Barack Obama in 2009. Guthrie first wrote “This Land Is Your Land” as a protest song, and it became a popular American classic after being sung by folk artists such as Seeger and Peter, Paul and Mary, and subsequently taught to countless schoolchildren. The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects features a variety of items from across Smithsonian museums and research centers.