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SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH - AUTOGRAPH POEM SIGNED 11/10/1892 - HFSID 32854

Samuel F. Smith signs an autograph poem of the first stanza of his hymn, "America". Autograph poem signed: "S.F. Smith", 3½x2½ card. At lower left, Smith has penned: "Written 1832./Nov. 10, 1892.…"

Price: $1,800.00

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SAMUEL F. SMITH
Samuel F. Smith signs an autograph poem of the first stanza of his hymn, "America".
Autograph poem signed: "S.F. Smith", 3½x2½ card. At lower left, Smith has penned: "Written 1832./Nov. 10, 1892." THE FIRST STANZA OF HIS HYMN, "AMERICA", WRITTEN ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN TO SING AT SCHOOL DURING OPENING EXERCISES. 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." 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. Fine condition.

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