SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH - AUTOGRAPH POEM SIGNED 07/17/1890 - HFSID 35437
Sale Price $1,530.00
"MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THEE...."
SAMUEL F. SMITH: "AMERICA". Autograph Poem signed: "S.F. Smith," 1p, 5x8. The first and fourth stanzas of our national hymn. In full: "My country,-'tis of thee,/Sweet land of liberty,/Of thee I sing;/Land where my fathers died,/Land of the pilgrims' pride,/From every mountain side/Let freedom ring./x x x/Our fathers' God,- to Thee,/Author of liberty,/To Thee we sing;/Long may our land be bright/With freedom's holy light;/Protect us by Thy might,/Great God, our King." Smith has added: "Written in 1832/July 17, 1890." 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. Rubber stamped twice at upper blank margin: "Autograph Collection/of/Dr. Max Thorek/Chicago." Dr. Thorek and his collection are mentioned in autograph pioneer Charles Hamilton's first book, Collecting Autographs and Manuscripts (1961). Tiny spot at upper right blank corner, slightly smudged above printed notation, else fine condition.
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