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Samuel Francis Smith Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: October 21, 1808 in Boston, Massachusetts
Died: November 16, 1895 in Boston, Massachusetts
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.
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