Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)

Francis Scott Key was a lawyer and the author of "The Star Spangled Banner." As a lawyer in Washington, Key was asked to negotiate the release of a physician who was seized aboard the British fleet. Waiting for the doctor, Key had to spend a night on a ship during the attack on Baltimore. At daybreak he was ecstatic to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry. He composed the poem in his head, then rewrote it in his hotel. The poem was set to a well-known English tune, "To Anacreon in Heaven." The photo here is a copy of a painting.

1830 circa 15 years
Original Format:
Photographic Print
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