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The Charlotte Strauss Collection


Collection Title: 

The Charlotte Strauss Collection

Collection Number: 

2008-242

Arranged by: 

Tiffany Colannino

Collection Described by and Guide prepared by:  

Kate L. Blalack, MLIS, CA

Date Range:

1945-1947

Extent:

0.5 linear feet, one slim-style document box

Provenance:  

Woody Guthrie Publications/Archives via Charlotte Strauss

Biographical Sketch: 

Charlotte Strauss (Las Vegas, NV) started a correspondence with Woody Guthrie in October of 1945, originally about his novel Bound For Glory. At the time Woody Guthrie was stationed at Scott Field, in Chicago, Illinois. He was soon to be discharged home to New York, where he would marry Marjorie Mazia, the mother of his three-year-old daughter, Cathy. What started out as mutual admiration between the Strauss and Guthrie transformed quickly into long musing and love letters. The correspondences span from October 1945 through 1947.

Scope and Contents: 

The collection does not contain any original materials, only photocopies on acid free card stock. The collection contains primarily correspondences from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss, no letters authored by Strauss are included. The collection also contains two short stories by Woody Guthrie, “I Spin, You Spin” and “Study Butte,” as well as some graphics artwork, and a memo from John Steinbeck about Woody Guthrie.

Related Materials: Woody Guthrie Correspondence Collection. and Woody Guthrie Manuscripts Collection.

Language:

Materials entirely in English

Collection Restrictions: 

Currently the materials are restricted to in-house research.

Usage Restrictions: 

All material is copyrighted and permission must be acquired to publish.

Arrangement: 

The collection is physically arranged and preserved according to provenance, and this is to maintain the original context of the materials.

 

SERIES 1 :  Correspondences from Woody Guthrie to Charolette Strauss

Box 01 Folder 01 [photocopy]

October 29, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [5 pages]

Re. a letter sent by her about his book Bound For Glory. Woody remarks that he feels alive again and ruminates on her compliments to him. He asks to publish it.

Box 01 Folder 02 [photocopy]

November 03, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago) – Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [8 pages]

Re. Woody assures Strauss that he will not have her letter published and quotes her letters several times. He then asks to know more about her and hopes he receives a lot of letters from her.

Box 01 Folder 03 [photocopy]

December 06, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago) – Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [5 pages]

Re. Discusses his folk albums and the meaning of the album Struggle. Woody discusses wanting to read some of her poems. Woody tells Strauss that he is getting discharged from the army and leave her a New York address. He tells Strauss about Marjorie and the Martha Graham Dance Studio. He also tells her about three-year-old Cathy.

Box 01 Folder 04 [photocopy]

December 08, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [4 pages]

Re. Woody discusses going to get stationary and not being able to, and about trying to write in the desert and being around the other soldiers, etc.

Box 01 Folder 05 [photocopy]

December 08, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [10 pages, most written in 4 line stanzas]

Re. Woody writes about desire of a married man and walking with her in natural settings and he suggests having an affair. He then promised again to keep Strauss’ letter to himself, tries to guess what she looks like and her age (he settles on 21) and he suggests arranging a time and place to meet if she is willing.

Box 01 Folder 06 [photocopy]

December 10, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [4 pages]

Re. Woody discusses love and telepathy.

Box 01 Folder 07 [photocopy]

December 18, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [13 pages]

Re. Woody talks about a law suit against his uncle for killing the kittens in the book, Bound For Glory. He also discusses home life with Marjorie and her mother Eliza Greenblatt and about Marjorie’s philosophy of love. 

[photocopy]

December 18, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [18 pages ] 

Re. Woody discusses meeting Charlotte and how they might or might not react to each other. He discusses with Charlotte that she is free to love other men.

Box 01 Folder 08 [photocopy]

December 21, 1945 (Scott Field, Chicago)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [6 pages] 

Re.Woody talks about the challenges that Charlotte will face loving him, and how to be true to herself, and he proclaims his love for her.

Box 01 Folder 09 [photocopy]

Black and white photograph of Charlotte Standing in a dress outside by a stone wall.

[photocopy]

January 02, 1946 (3520 Mermaid Avenue, Brooklyn, NY)- Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss [1 page ]

Re. Woody asking Charlotte to paste the letter inside his albums when she gets them, and includes his soldier ID numbers. 

Box 01 Folder 10 [photocopy]

October 08, 1946 (” ‘sburg Pennsylvania) – Letter from Woody Guthrie to Charlotte Strauss. [14 pages] 

Re. Discusses the beauty of Sambo Creek and Pocono Ridge, Delaware, all the fall colors and wildlife. Includes some prose/lyrics that Woody created as and ode to Charolette. Illustrated on final page.

Box 01 Folder 11 [photocopy]

September 21, 1947 (Burbank, CA)-  Letter from Irving Learner to Woody Guthrie. (1 page)

Re. Irving discusses registering the story with the Screenwriters Guild and that more detail is needed to turn it into a film treatment, especially concerning the “Wet Mexicans.”

[photocopy]

September 22, 1947 (Burbank, CA)-  Letter from Irving Learner to Woody Guthrie. (1 page)

Re. Irving asks for more details on why Woody wanted to wander off. 

SERIES 2 : Manuscripts/Short Stories by Woody guthrie

Box 01 Folder 12 [photocopy]

September 15, 1946, Manuscripts of short story, “I Spin, You Spin”, 2 versions (12 pages total, 6 pages each), by Woody Guthrie

Summary: Woody describes in vivid detail the scenery on the bank of a creek in the Pocono Mountains in Delaware, and the two people he is with (though they never make an appearance in the story), Mrs. Greentree and Little Annie. He tells a story of seeing a spider spin a measuring worm into a cocoon, with a twist at the end of the story.

Box 01 Folder 13 [photocopy]

October 03, 1947, Manuscript of short story, “Study Butte” (27 pages), by Woody Guthrie

Summary: Woody Guthrie and his “Papa” and uncle, Jessie, travel to the border of Mexico to find silver. Staying at Woody’s late Grandfather’s house, “Jerry P.”, they learn the lay of the land in Mexico and also the rules of the country they are in. They learn to host and house “Wet Mexicans,” who are people from Mexico who wade across the river to find work in North America. They also house an American Indian called “Red Rock,” who stays with them and cooks for them. Woody learns about Cactus milk, leaving doors open and showing hospitality. 

Box 01 Folder 13 [photocopy]

Copy of the cover of Woody Guthrie American Folksongs book and water-colored name of Charlotte Strauss with the inscription, “To the woman I found and I lost Charlotte and still love and always will all of my days and nights too.”

Box 01 Folder 14 [photocopy]

Typed memo about Woody Guthrie (1/2 a page), “Woody is Just Woody….”, by John Steinbeck