Names in the news, Dec. 28

Posted Dec. 28, 2011, at 5:16 p.m.

Woody Guthrie’s writings, recordings and artwork will land in his native state after an Oklahoma foundation bought the collection, with plans for a display that concentrates on his artistry rather than the populist politics that divided local opinion over the years. Guthrie, known for the anthem, “This Land is Your Land” and his songs about the poor and downtrodden, is remembered mostly as a musician, composer and singer, but was also a literary figure and an artist, said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The George Kaiser Family Foundation based in Tulsa, Okla., announced Wednesday that it purchased the archives and plans to open the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa by the end of 2012 to mark the centennial of the singer’s birth. The collection includes the original handwritten copy of “This Land is Your Land,” original musical recordings, handwritten songbooks and song lyrics, Guthrie’s annotated record collection, personal papers detailing family matters, and other items. Woody Guthrie, a native of Okemah, died of Huntington’s disease, a hereditary neurodegenerative condition, in 1967 at the age of 55. … Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who has been excluded from most Republican presidential debates and has barely registered in polls of the race, said Wednesday he instead will seek the Libertarian nomination for the White House. The Libertarian nominee will be selected in May at the party’s convention. … Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, continuing his second career as a comedian, performed at an open-mic night at the Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Specter told the crowd he’s “been in comedy now for 30 years” and took shots at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former President Bill Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

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