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Mary Travers was a member of the 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary.
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Paul & Mary. The folk group had hits with "If I Had a Hammer" and "Puff the Magic Dragon." Travers was diagnosed with Leukemia and died in 2009.
Travers spent most of her childhood and teenage years exploring her love of music at The Little Red Schoolhouse, a liberal private school in the Village. While at the Schoolhouse, Travers grew interested in singer/songwriters such as Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger. She began singing weekly at the Sunday afternoon folk music gatherings in Washington Square Park, where legendary folk artists would often gather to perform.
Talking Union. The group of students became known as the Song Swappers, and recorded three more albums with Seeger. They also appeared twice at Carnegie Hall.
Her success as a musician gave Travers the confidence she needed to quit high school in her junior year. When she immediately accepted a role as a folk singer in the Broadway musical The Next President, she truly believed she was on her way to stardom. When the show closed only a few months later, however, Travers' career stalled.
Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow through music manager Albert Grossman, who was looking to form a folk group made up of a tall blonde woman, a good-looking guy, and a jokester. The folk group, named simply Peter, Paul & Mary, began their career at The Bitter End coffeehouse in 1961.
Their first gig was in 1961 at New York's Bitter End coffeehouse, which was very well-received. Within a year, Peter, Paul and Mary had released their debut (self-titled) album, featuring Pete Seeger tunes like "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"
By 1963, the group had made three records - Peter, Paul and Mary (1962), Moving (1963), and In the Wind (1963) - and released one of their biggest hit singles, "Puff the Magic Dragon." The song, which was an allegory about peace, brought the group to the forefront of the folk music and civil rights movement. They performed at the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and their version of the Bob Dylan war protest song, "Blowin' in the Wind" became the fastest-selling single of all time for Warner Brothers, landing at No.
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