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Where did Woody die?

25 Oct 98 - 07:58 PM (#43199)
Subject: Where did Woody die?

Gruesome subject perhaps...but I need to find the definitive answer for the purposes of some research I'm doing for a book. Did Woody Guthrie die at Creedmor Hospital, Brooklyn State Hospital, or Bellvue? Does anyone know DEFINITIVELY? Please reply to me at Thanks. -- Kirk Bjornsgaard

25 Oct 98 - 11:43 PM (#43211)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: gargoyle

Interesting question -

According to Woody Gutherie - American Balladeer by Janelle Yates

He died in 1967 of Huntington's Chorea....the same disease his mother died of, however, no location is given.

26 Oct 98 - 12:51 AM (#43215)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: Tim Jaques

Post the question on Arlo posts there sometimes.

26 Oct 98 - 10:27 AM (#43245)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: Carolyn

I'm pretty sure it was Brooklyn State Hospital, but you can e-mail Arlo directly at for confirmation.

26 Oct 98 - 04:23 PM (#43274)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: RayBanks

According to "Woodie Guthrie - A Life" by Joe Klein, Woody was transferred to Brooklyn State Hospital in 1961. No other hospitals are mentioned after this, and he died in October 3rd 1967. Ray.

26 Oct 98 - 07:00 PM (#43288)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: The Shambles

Can we use a little sensitivity here. Is is a good idea to E Mail someone we don't know (famous or otherwise) and ask them personal questions about their father's death?

If someone is well known they may get used to areas of their life being public property but if some facts about them are not public knowledge, maybe there are good reasons for it and they should remain private.

26 Oct 98 - 11:17 PM (#43341)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: McMusic

I have to agree with the Shambles. If it were me, famous or not, I'd probably be more than a little pissed to get an impersonal e-mail asking for such personal info. You might try the NYC Hall of Records (if such a place exists) instead.

26 Oct 98 - 11:21 PM (#43342)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: gargoyle

Hell, it been 22 years....I'm sure he has moved through the greaving portion of his loss.

Like most of us...he undoubtably has multiple e-mail slots. Those you don't like you delete.

Just cause the phone rings....don't mean ya gotta answer it.

If the man NEEDS a definative answer....and he lives outside the area.....and the record is not available in published sources....and "public records" are still only "public" in the COUNTY of their occurance, (except for the progressive state of OREGON) is as good a shot as any.

Give it a try KIRK.

28 Oct 98 - 08:01 PM (#43535)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: gargoyle

"On Guthrie's return to New York after atrek across country in 1952, the symptoms of Huntington's chorea, inherited from his mother, were beginning to manifest themselves. At his wife's urging, Guthrie voluntarily entered a hospitol. Finding it difficult to perform and even to write, he remained hospitalized for most of the time until his death at Creedmore State Hospital in Queens, N.Y." emphasis added.

Garraty,John A., Carnes, Mark C, editors, Dictionary of American Biography - Supplement Eight 1966-1970, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, Collier Macmillan Publisher London, 1988, p234.

28 Oct 98 - 08:14 PM (#43537)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?

Kirk, there is a "Delphinic" type ambiguity in the previous wording. The last phrase could be interpreted:

1. "He remained hospitalized for most of the Creedmore."

2. "He remained hospitalized ....until his death at Creedmore."

The source is excellent, however, the unfortunate phrasing may not give you the "deffinative" you seek. The best bet is to quote the source dirrectly.

The article in American Biography was written by Arnold Shaw

I am personally prone to hyperboyle and therefore found this quote at the end of the article to be interesting.

"In the New Yorker in the early 1940's, Clifton Fadiman wrote, 'Someday people are going to wake up to the fact that Woody Guthre and the ten thousand songs that leap and tumble off the strings of his music box are a national possesion, like Yellowstone and Yosemite, and part of the best stuff this country has to show the world.'"

His obituary is noted as being in the New York Times Oct. 4, 1967.

29 Oct 98 - 11:33 AM (#43594)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: Carolyn

Sorry if I offended you Shambles, and you have a point. My thought thought was that if Kirk is writing a book on Woody, that Arlo might like some input, or at least to know that the books being written. Carolyn

30 Oct 98 - 08:50 AM (#43685)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?


Because I'm a better writer than I am a computer jockey. this is the second version of this note I'm sending. Not sure where the first one went!

But again, thanks for the outpouring and the comments. I had interviewed the administrator of Creedmore several years ago who told me her institution is where Woody died. Then other sources indicated Brooklyn State (and there's a Dylan quote that intimates that) and so I began again.

Let me add, too---and I'm sorry I didn't do this my first go-round--this is a NOVEL I'm writing! Accuracy still matters. Thanks again.


04 Nov 98 - 12:57 PM (#44190)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: gargoyle

New York DOES have a very fine set of on-line records.

For five dollars you can get a hard copy of any public records - that would include a copy of Woody's death certificat.

Information is available at:The New York State Archieve and Records

17 Nov 98 - 04:54 PM (#45826)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: Doctor John

In my USA copy of "Bound for Glory" there's a letter from the Secretary of State of the Interior, Washington presenting Woody with an award etc. It is dated April 6 1966 and Woody's address is given as Brooklyn State Hospital, 681 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, NY. So it's highly likely that that is where he died.

17 Nov 98 - 09:12 PM (#45865)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: gargoyle

Hell....I'm gonna send off for the death certificat.

Will post the results later.

17 Nov 98 - 10:12 PM (#45887)
Subject: RE: Where did Woody die?
From: Art Thieme

If Woody was anything like me, he died hundreds of times all over the U.S. Some shows went well in some places---but others simply couldn't get off the ground--they died an embarrassingly slow death. Hell, after the first song I could tell I was already doomed and moribund! I, for one, probably died more when I was young than later, when, maturity and elderlyness, like John Glenn, allowed me to attain the upper stratosphere.

What trip it's been!!

Yeah, another parodox; the older ya get, the less ya die!!!!!