Cathy Says


One of Woody Guthrie’s greatest inspirations was his and Marjorie’s first daughter, Cathy Ann. In this 1947 notebook, Woody presents four-year-old Cathy’s observations, recording the innocence and honesty that can only be seen through the eyes of a child. These daily activities and emotions became the themes for dozens of children’s songs, which continue to be sung today by educators, parents, and children.

“Cathy Says: Her Own Words for It”
Notebook, 1947


Music: “Why O Why?”

Steve Earle: Woody wasn’t just a political writer or a labor balladeer; he also left behind a store of some of the most enduring and endearing children’s songs ever written. Many of them were inspired by his daughter, Cathy, transforming her words into songs. After her tragic death in an apartment fire at the age of 4, Woody often pulled himself out of depression by noting that Cathy wouldn’t want him to be sad. Even without her earthly presence, Cathy continued to inspire Woody.