Happy Birthday: Mary Travers
79 years ago today, one of the most famous female icons of folk music was born in Louisville, Kentucky.
Mary Allin Travers, the woman who put the “Mary” in “Peter, Paul and Mary,” may have been born in the bluegrass state, but she would soon become a rare member of the Greenwich Village music scene to actually grow up in Greenwich Village. Travers and her family moved to New York City when she was two years old, and given that her parents were both journalists and organizers of the trade union known as The Newspaper Guild, it’s no surprise that she found herself drawn toward singing protest songs, but it wasn’t until she was almost into her twenties when she made her first major foray into a career in music by joining the Song Swappers in 1955.
The Peter, Paul and Mary story, however, didn’t begin until 1961, when manager Albert Grossman created the group through a series of auditions. After trying out Travers, Noel (Paul) Stookey, and Peter Yarrow as a trio by having them perform shows in Boston and Miami, Grossman got them a hometown gig at The Bitter End, and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
Sadly, Travers’ career came to an end in 2009 as a result of complications from leukemia, but the music goes on, as you can hear in our official Peter, Paul and Mary playlist. Give it a spin and wish Mary a happy birthday, wherever she may be.