BMI Foundation Awards 4th Annual Woody Guthrie Fellowships

Posted in News on April 22, 2009

The winners of the fourth annual Woody Guthrie Fellowship have been announced by Ralph N. Jackson, President of the BMI Foundation, Inc., and Nora Guthrie, Executive Director of the Woody Guthrie Archives (WGA) and Foundation. The program funds research fellowships for scholars to use the rich and extensive holdings available at the WGA in New York City.

The 2009 recipients are as follows:

Dr. Martin Butler is Assistant Professor for the Chair of North American Literature and Culture, and for the Chair of British and Anglophone Literature and Cultures at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. His 2007 dissertation, Voices of the Down and Out: The Dust Bowl Migration and the Great Depression in the Songs of Woody Guthrie was awarded “Best Dissertation in the Humanities in 2008 at the University of Duisburg-Essen” by Sparkasse in Essen. His current project, I’m Here in Buchenwald, My Number’s on My Skin, seeks to examine German fascism in the songs and writings of Woody Guthrie. Butler’s research at the Archives will result in a chapter in a forthcoming collection of essays on Woody Guthrie.

Dr. Darryl Holter, Adjunct Associate Professor in the History department at the University of Southern California, is the author of more than a dozen books and scholarly articles on labor history in America, many focusing specifically upon union efforts, labor law, and workers. His current project, Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles, 1937-1941, will build upon Holter’s foundational knowledge of the region, as well as his solid background in social and labor history. An active musician, Holter brings an appreciation and understanding of folk music to complement his strong academic background, culminating in research that will explore this oft-overlooked period in Guthrie’s life, offering insight into the importance of the Los Angeles years on the formation of Guthrie’s music and politics.

Dr. Mark Allan Jackson is Assistant Professor of Folklore and English at Middle Tennessee State University. His 2007 book Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie, was recently awarded “Outstanding Academic Title: by the American Library Association’s Choice Magazine. Jackson’s current project, Playing Legend Maker: Woody Guthrie’s “Jackhammer John,” will explore how Guthrie drew upon the folksong tradition to help him craft legendary figures. His research will result in an essay to be included in an upcoming collection of scholarly work on Guthrie.

Matthew Sutton is a Ph.D candidate in American Studies at the College of William and Mary, where he is working towards a dissertation entitled “Storyville: Discourses in Southern Musicians’ Autobiographies.” Sutton’s current project, Green Pastures of Plenty, builds upon his earlier work to explore Guthrie’s notions of environmental preservation. Sutton’s research will further examine drafts of Guthrie’s semi-autobiographical manuscripts in detail in an attempt to better understand the scale of Guthrie’s sense of environmentalism.

Established in 1972, the Woody Guthrie Foundation is a non-profit organization that serves as administrator and caretaker of the Woody Guthrie Archives. Dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of information about Woody Guthrie’s vast cultural legacy, the WGA houses the largest collection of Woody Guthrie material in the world. Since it’s opening in 1996, the Woody Guthrie Archives has been a major success and has become an important resource for the general public, musicians, singers, songwriters, scholars, and public and private cultural institutions wishing to access the research collection.

The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation come primarily from songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees and members of the public with a special interest in music. Because both the Foundation staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, more than 95% of all donations and income are used for charitable grants.