Woody Guthrie Creates a Doodle-Filled List of 33 New Year’s Resolutions (1943): Beat Fascism, Write a Song a Day, and Keep the Hoping Machine Running

On Jan­u­ary 1, 1943, the Amer­i­can folk music leg­end Woody Guthrie jot­ted in his jour­nal a list of 33 “New Years Rulin’s.” Nowa­days, we’d call them New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions. Adorned by doo­dles, the list is down to earth by any mea­sure. Fam­i­ly, song, tak­ing a polit­i­cal stand, per­son­al hygiene — they’re the val­ues or aspi­ra­tions that top his list. You can click the image above to view the list in a larg­er for­mat. Below, we have pro­vid­ed a tran­script of Guthrie’s Rulin’s.

1. Work more and bet­ter
2. Work by a sched­ule
3. Wash teeth if any
4. Shave
5. Take bath
6. Eat good — fruit — veg­eta­bles — milk
7. Drink very scant if any
8. Write a song a day
9. Wear clean clothes — look good
10. Shine shoes
11. Change socks
12. Change bed cloths often
13. Read lots good books
14. Lis­ten to radio a lot
15. Learn peo­ple bet­ter
16. Keep ran­cho clean
17. Dont get lone­some
18. Stay glad
19. Keep hop­ing machine run­ning
20. Dream good
21. Bank all extra mon­ey
22. Save dough
23. Have com­pa­ny but dont waste time
24. Send Mary and kids mon­ey
25. Play and sing good
26. Dance bet­ter
27. Help win war — beat fas­cism
28. Love mama
29. Love papa
30. Love Pete
31. Love every­body
32. Make up your mind
33. Wake up and fight

We wish you all a hap­py 2018.

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Note: This fine list orig­i­nal­ly appeared on our site back in 2014.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Pow­er­ful Mes­sages That Woody Guthrie & Pete Seeger Inscribed on Their Gui­tar & Ban­jo: “This Machine Kills Fas­cists” and “This Machine Sur­rounds Hate and Forces it to Sur­ren­der”

Hear Two Leg­ends, Lead Bel­ly & Woody Guthrie, Per­form­ing on the Same Radio Show (1940)

Woody Guthrie’s Fan Let­ter To John Cage and Alan Hov­haness (1947)

Seeger: To Hear Your Ban­jo Play

The Alan Lomax Sound Archive Now Online: Fea­tures 17,000 Record­ings


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.