Stetson Kennedy Papers
Collection Processed by: Jorge Arévalo Mateus, PhD
Collection Guide Prepared by:
Original finding aid was prepared by Jorge’ Arevalo Mateus, PhD; updated by Steven Putt, Intern & Tiffany Colannino, Archivist – Woody Guthrie Archives, August 2012; updated by Kate Blalack, December 2013.
0.3 linear feet
Stetson Kennedy, 2009
William Stetson Kennedy was born October 5, 1916 in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a founding member and past president of the Florida Folklore Society and authored several books related to folklife, human rights, justice, and the stewardship of nature. His first book titled Palmetto Country, focused on his experience of Florida folklife during his work for the Works Progress Administration. The book was published in 1942 as part of the American Folkways Series. Upon reading the book Woody Guthrie wrote Kennedy a letter saying:
I don’t know of a book on my whole shelf that hits me any harder than your Palmetto Country. It gives me a better trip and taste and look and feel for Florida than I got in the forty-seven states I’ve actually been in body and tramped in boot. If only, and if only, all out library books could say what you did – the jokes and songs and old ballads about voodoo and the hoodoo and the bigly winds down in your neck of the woodvine.
This correspondence began what was a lifelong friendship between Guthrie and Kennedy. Guthrie was a regular guest at Kennedy’s Beluthahatchee home in Florida and wrote several songs there. Kennedy also maintained regular correspondence with Woody Guthrie’s wife Marjorie (Mazia) Guthrie.
Stetson Kennedy was the recipient of the Florida Folk Heritage Award and the Florida Governor’s Heartland Award. He died August 27, 2011.
From 1946-1988, Stetson Kennedy collected correspondence, periodicals, printed materials, and song lyrics related to Woody Guthrie. The collection consists of .3 linear feet of material all of which are original or photocopied paper documents including correspondence, periodicals, printed material, and song lyrics.
Materials entirely in English.
There are no restrictions on access to this collection. All materials are subject to copyright.
The collection is organized into four series presented in seven folders. Contents within each folder are arranged chronologically.
See also Woody Guthrie Archives printed materials accessions #2009-111 which consists of newspaper clippings and articles relating to Woody Guthrie’s time spent in Beluthahatchee, Florida on Stetson Kennedy’s estate. Articles discuss the designation of the property as a Literary Landmark by the Friends of Libraries USA, and the establishment of a Foundation and Archives at the estate.
Georgia State University also holds a collection of related archival material titled “Papers, 1933-1981.” (oclc number: 28419537)
List of Series
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Periodicals
Series 3: Printed Material
Series 4: Song Lyrics
|Box 1 Folder 1||From Woody Guthrie to Stetson Kennedy. Includes 1 postcard from Woody Guthrie to Marjorie Mazia School of Dance and 1 postcard from Woody Guthrie which was not sent.
|Box 1 Folder 2||From Stetson Kennedy to miscellaneous recipients.
|Box 1 Folder 3||From Marjorie Guthrie to Stetson Kennedy.
|Box 1 Folder 4||To Stetson Kennedy. Includes two envelopes addressed to Jack Elliot c/o Stetson Kennedy and two Woody Guthrie tribute letters received by Stetson Kennedy.
|Box 1 Folder 5||Contains photocopies and clippings from articles about Woody Guthrie and his songs. Also contains a few issues of the The Woody Guthrie Newsletter.
|Box 1 Folder 6||Contains miscellaneous article clippings, newspaper clippings (including Woody’s Obituary), pamphlets, and brochures.
|Box 1 Folder 7||Contains photocopies and one original lyric sheet for four songs written by Woody Guthrie.