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Troubadour Woody Guthrie's Daughter Talks Of His Time in Greystone Hospital

Nora Guthrie, speaking at a book event in Morris Twp., stated her support for preserving the Greystone Park State Hospital.

Woody Guthrie in Middletown CT Patch file photo
Woody Guthrie in Middletown CT Patch file photo

In 1956, folk-music hero Woody Guthrie mistakenly was labeled a schizophrenic vagrant and remanded to the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, said his daughter, the Star-Ledger reported. Six months later, doctors realized the legendary singer-songwriter wasn't mentally ill, but had Huntingdon's disease, the disorder that gradually robs one of the ability to move and eventually—as it did with Woody Guthrie in 1967—kills.

Nora Guthrie spoke of her late father's time in Greystone's Ward 40 at the Morris Museum's Bickford Theater in Morris Township last Thursday, the article said. The event was a promotional one for photographer Phillip Buehler's book, "Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited." 

A crowd of about 175 people turned out to hear Guthrie talk about her father's music, his time at Greystone, Bob Dylan’s visits to the hospital to see the "This Land Is Your Land" songwriter and her support for efforts to preserve the facility, which was closed in 2008. The status of the Greystone building is in limbo. State officials have not yet decided whether to demolish or preserve all or part of its historic Kirkbride Building, the article said.

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