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Collections | Music Manuscripts & Printed Music

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The Star Spangled Banner
Music by John Stafford Smith; words by Francis Scott Key
Baltimore: Carrs Music Store, 1814
13 inches (330 mm)
James Fuld Collection, 2008
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Francis Scott Key's poem, inspired by the sight of the United States flag flying defiantly over Fort McHenry after the British attack in September 1812, was set to John Stafford Smith's 1770s melody "To Anacreon in Heaven." The tune, originally with words by Ralph Tomlinson, was composed for the Anacreontic Society, a British music club that held its meetings at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand. Not until 1931 was "The Star Spangled Banner" declared the nation's official anthem by an act of Congress. Note the misspelling of patriotic in the subtitle in this first edition, one of only a handful of surviving copies.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.