This is a letter sent by Anneke, Woody Guthrie’s third and final wife, to Alan Lomax, in June 1953. Folks in Woody’s orbit had a way of adopting his prose style – long, grandiose, playful, freely associative – though never to the same transcendent ends. Lomax was guilty of this in several letters I’ve seen, including one to his young daughter Anna (full disclosure: my boss). But some of Woody’s most beautiful letters were ones that he embellished with his signature cartoons and watercolors. The one that I’m most fond of was typed on the inside of the dust jacket of John Dos Passos’ “U.S.A.,” and then slathered with pink script reading “PEACE.” I’d put that one up, but this is a copyright violation enough as it is, I’m sure. So: Courtesy of the Alan Lomax Archive.
But how about that mule? Regarding its fruit treelet/rose bush? This was one of the first articles I came across when I signed up at the Lomax Archive, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off it. I think it’s utterly charming.