Mary Travers

In 1960, in a small, fifth-floor walk-up on the Lower East Side of New York City, we, along with singer Mary Travers, explored the musical boundaries of a nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb," in search of a vocal blend. What we--the members of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary--found instead was rapport, affection and a calling that lasted nearly 50 years.

To the public, Mary, who died Sept. 16 at 72, was known for being charismatic, indomitable and beautiful. A Kentucky native raised amid the blossoming folk-music scene of Greenwich Village, she inspired us to confront the disgrace...