SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 07/17/1890 - HFSID 35436
SAMUEL F. SMITH
Smith handwrote, dated and signed this letter to an autograph hunter in 1890. In it, he says that he never authorized anyone to sell his signature and will provide it for only the cost of postage.
Autograph letter signed: "S.F. Smith", 1 page, 4¾x8, on ruled paper. With "Autograph Collection/of/Dr. Max Thorek/Chicago" in black ink in upper right corner. Newton Centre, Massachusetts, July 17, 1890. Addressed to Milton Reed, Esq. In full: "Dear sir, I must confess money is a very convenient thing to have around the house; yet I have never made, nor authorized any one to make the offer of my autograph 'for a consideration'. I have only demanded payment of postage, in default of which such requests go into the waste basket, unanswered. In the interest of patriotism and our common country, I am happy to gratify you and your friends. Respectfully yours,"After a visit to Germany in 1831, 23-year-old theological student Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895), impressed that German children started their school day by singing a hymn, wrote a patriotic hymn using a simple German melody. Coincidentally, the melody was the same as that of the British national anthem, "God Save the King". Smith jotted down the complete hymn on a piece of scrap paper within half an hour, and the result, America, was first sung at a children's celebration in Boston's Park Street Church on July 4, 1832. George Gershwin used Smith's phrase Of Thee I Sing as the title of his 1932 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted the entire first stanza as he concluded his "I have a dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Lightly toned and creased. Random ink stains. Folded twice horizontally and unfolded. Otherwise, fine condition.
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