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    [Francis Scott Key] "Fort Mc.Henry, or, the Star Spangled Banner" [1814]. Philadelphia: G. E. Blake. Three pages, 9.25" x 13". Four stanzas of the national anthem printed without music on page three of the sheet music for "'The Battle of the Wabash': A Patriotic Song, Written by Joseph Hutton To the favourite Air of Anacreon in Heaven." On page three above the stanzas of the "Fort Mc.Henry, or, the Star Spangled Banner" is written, "Sung with great applause by Mr. Hardinge, at the Theatre Baltimore."

    Thirty-five-year-old poet and attorney Francis Scott Key watched the British Royal Navy bombard Fort McHenry in the Baltimore Harbor during the night of September 13 and 14, 1814. The heavy bombardment throughout the evening indicated to Key that the fort had not yet surrendered. He was further comforted when the dawn's light fell on the American flag, proving that the fort had withstood the attack. Key added these nighttime and early morning events to his poem shortly after the battle was over. By September 17, a broadside featuring Key's poem with the title "Defence of Fort M'Henry" was published, likely the initial printing of Key's poem. On September 20, the poem, along with a description of its inception, appeared in the Baltimore Patriot. (Oscar George Theodore Sonneck. The Star Spangled Banner. Government Printing Office, 1914.)

    The poem's popularity quickly spread, with over twenty separate printings now known to have existed before December 31, 1814. Two of those - including this one - mention Mr. Hardinge's version ("with great applause"). Mr. Hardinge was a member of the Warren & Wood Chestnut Street Company, which sang Key's poem "with great applause" to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" in Baltimore between October 12 and November 21, 1814. Four times after October 19 (and before November 21), Baltimore newspapers gave notice when the poem, under the name "The Star Spangled Banner", would be performed. Joseph Hutton's popular song, "The Battle of the Wabash" was sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" (also known as "The Anacreontic Song"). Composed by John Stafford Smith of Gloucester, England, this tune was likely used by the English as a drinking song. "The Star Spangled Banner" soon became a popular American patriotic song. A March 1931 act of Congress, signed by Herbert Hoover, made it the national anthem. (James J. Fuld. The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk. Courier Dover Publications, 2000.)

    Handsomely matted and framed so that the document can be viewed on both sides, with an overall size of 24" x 23". The "The Battle of the Wabash" and "Fort Mc.Henry, or, the Star Spangled Banner" are framed spread open, 18" x 13", sight). Dark ink notations at top of pages with minute holes resulting from previous binding. Toning and foxing.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
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