SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH - AUTOGRAPH POEM SIGNED 01/30/1895 - HFSID 42912
Sale Price $1,530.00
SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH
First three lines of Smith's 1832 hymn America, handwritten, signed and dated by him in 1895, the year that he died
Autograph poem signed: "S.F. Smith/Written in 1832./Jan. 30, 1895.", 3x2¼ card. In full: "My country - 'tis of thee,/Sweet land of liberty,/of thee I sing." 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. Adhesive residue on back. Otherwise, fine condition.
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