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Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Frederick, Maryland, who is best known for writing the lyrics for the American national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Key observed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 during the War of 1812. He was inspired upon seeing the American flag still flying over the fort at dawn and wrote the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry"; it was published within a week with the suggested tune of the popular song "To Anacreon in Heaven". The song with Key's lyrics became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and slowly gained in popularity as an unofficial anthem, finally achieving official status more than a century later under President Herbert Hoover as the national anthem. The national motto "In God We Trust" derives from a line in "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Key was a lawyer in Maryland and Washington D.C. for four decades and worked on important cases, including the Burr conspiracy trial, and he argued numerous times before the Supreme Court. He was nominated for District Attorney for the District of Columbia by President Andrew Jackson, where he served from 1833 to 1841. Key was a devout Episcopalian.

Key owned slaves from 1800, during which time abolitionists ridiculed his words, claiming that America was more like the "Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed". He freed his slaves in the 1830s, paying one ex-slave as his farm foreman. He publicly criticized slavery and gave free legal representation to some slaves seeking freedom, but he also represented owners of runaway slaves. As District Attorney, he suppressed abolitionists and did not support an immediate end to slavery. He was also a leader of the American Colonization Society which sent freed slaves to Africa.

Key's brother-in-law and "longstanding, close personal and professional friend" was Roger Taney, who as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court wrote the Dred Scott decision, denying even the possibility of citizenship to African Americans and stating that they "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect".

Birth and Death Data: Born 1779 (Terra Rubra), Died 1843 (Baltimore)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1894 - 1940

Roles Represented in DAHR: author

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 47 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 355 7-in. Before 1895 The star spangled banner Soprano vocalist(s) (unidentified; Berliner Gramophone Records) Female vocal solo author  
Berliner 4258 7-in. June 1897-Apr. 1898 The star spangled banner Artists vary Male vocal quartet author  
Victor E-1907 8-in. 2/13/1906 The star spangled banner Frank C. Stanley Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor C-1907 12-in. 11/7/1904 The star spangled banner Frank C. Stanley Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor B-1907 10-in. 11/7/1904 The star spangled banner Frank C. Stanley Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor C-2421 12-in. 3/28/1905 Two American patriotic airs Emma Eames Soprano vocal solo, with piano author  
Victor C-4833 12-in. 9/24/1907 The star spangled banner Ellen Beach Yaw Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor B-6221 10-in. 5/21/1908 The star spangled banner Emilio de Gogorza Baritone vocal solo, with band and chorus author  
Victor C-8272 12-in. 10/4/1909 Star spangled banner Geraldine Farrar Soprano vocal solo, with chorus and orchestra author  
Victor B-8272 10-in. 5/25/1916 Star spangled banner Geraldine Farrar Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor BVE-14570 10-in. 3/30/1928 The star spangled banner Victor Mixed Chorus Vocal chorus, with orchestra author  
Victor B-14570 10-in. 3/13/1914 The star spangled banner Victor Mixed Chorus Chorus, with orchestra author  
Victor B-15005 10-in. 6/24/1914 The star spangled banner Margaret Romaine Female vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor B-19534 10-in. 3/29/1917 The star spangled banner John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with vocal chorus and orchestra author  
Victor B-20099 10-in. 6/27/1917 The star spangled banner Elizabeth Spencer Female vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor B-20316 10-in. 7/3/1917 The star spangled banner Reinald Werrenrath Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor B-20331 10-in. 7/10/1917 The star spangled banner Louise Homer Contralto vocal solo, with mixed vocal quartet and orchestra author  
Victor B-20332 10-in. 7/10/1917 The star spangled banner Louise Homer Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor C-21944 12-in. 6/4/1918 The star spangled banner Wilfred Glenn Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor B-22193 10-in. 8/5/1918 Star spangled banner František A. Pangrác Male vocal solo, with orchestra author  
Victor CVE-49530 12-in. 1/12/1929 Dedication of the Cascade Tunnel Graham McNamee ; Ernestine Schumann-Heink Radio broadcast : Contralto vocal solo, with piano author  
Victor BS-023914 10-in. 6/27/1938 The star spangled banner Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra author  
Victor BS-035320 10-in. 3/21/1939 The star spangled banner Kate Smith Female vocal solo, with mixed vocal chorus and orchestra author  
Victor BS-048770 10-in. 4/11/1940 The star spangled banner Emile Coté ; Victor Mixed Chorus Mixed vocal chorus, with organ author  
Victor [Trial 1914-09-03-01] Not documented 9/3/1914 Star spangled banner Chas. B. Hanford Recitation author  
(Results 1-25 of 47 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Key, Francis Scott," accessed April 10, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102073.

Key, Francis Scott. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 10, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102073.

"Key, Francis Scott." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 10 April 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102073

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