Mary Allin Travers was born Nov. 9, 1936 in Louisville, Ky. When she was 2 years old, her parents, both journalists, moved to New York. Almost unique among the folk musicians who emerged from the Greenwich Village scene in the early 1960s, Ms. Travers actually came from the neighborhood. She attended progressive private schools there, studied singing with the renowned music teacher Charity Bailey while still in kindergarten and became part of the folk-music revival as it took shape around her.
“I was raised on Josh White, the Weavers and Pete Seeger,” Ms. Travers told The New York Times in 1994. “The music was everywhere. You’d go to a party at somebody’s apartment and there would be 50 people there, singing well into the night.”