Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty at Greystone Revisited


PARSIPPANY — Photographer Phil Buehler and Woody Guthrie’s granddaughter, Anna Guthrie Canoni, will share stories and photos from the folk singer’s days at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital on Sunday, March 25, 2:00 p.m., at Morris County Historical Society’s Acorn Hall.

Guthrie, who suffered from Huntington’s disease, a degenerative neurological disorder, was a patient at Greystone from 1956 through 1961. He lived in Ward 40 and referred to it as Wardy Forty. It was here that a young and unknown Bob Dylan met his idol and a musical torch was passed.

Buehler has dedicated much of his life exploring the ruins of 20th century America. While visiting the Greystone site, Buehler stumbled upon photographs and negatives of Guthrie as a patient. He reached out to Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, at the Woody Guthrie Foundation & Archives, and with Guthrie’s case number in hand, Buehler began a 10-year odyssey that resulted in a book, co-authored with Guthrie Canoni, Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited.

Buehler and Guthrie Canoni’s presentation will include untold and inspiring stories of Woody’s life at Greystone. Images of the decaying hospital are juxtaposed with Guthrie’s letters, family snapshots, home movies and recollections of his friends, family and doctors. A book signing for Buehler and Guthrie Canoni’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited will follow their talk.

As seating is limited, RSVPs and advance ticket purchases are strongly encouraged. Tickets are $12.00 for adults; $10.00 for seniors; $7.00 for students; and free for MCHS members and children under 12.

To RSVP, purchase tickets, or for further information, click here, or call MCHS at (973) 267-3465. Acorn Hall is located at 68 Lafayette Avenue, Morristown.

Founded in 1945, MCHS is a member-supported 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the history of Morris County. MCHS receives general operating support from the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, New Jersey Historical Commission,  and Campbell Family Foundation, and project-based funding from the NJ Historic Trust, 1772 Foundation, Preserve NJ Historic Preservation Fund, Morris County Historic Preservation Trust, and Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service through the NJ State Historic Preservation Office, awarded by the NJ Historic Trust.