[KEY, Francis Scott (1780-1843), Poet]. The Star Spangled Banner. A Pariotic [sic] Song. Baltimore, Printed and Sold at Carr's Music Store, 36 Baltimore Street, n.d. [September-November 1814]. Bound ca. 1820 in an album belonging to Mary Barnitz of York, Pa. (1793-1886) or to her father George (1770-1844), containing 49 pieces of popular sheet music of the era. (List available on request.)
2 pages, 4to, 338 x 245 mm. (13. x 9. 1/2 in.), printed from two engraved plates on pages 2 and 3 of a bifolium. (Neatly removed from the album, small stain to upper margin, light foxing, neat mends to lower left-hand corner of first sheet.)
"AND THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER IN TRIUMPH SHALL WAVE O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE, AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE..."
FIRST EDITION OF THE LYRICS AND MUSIC OF "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER," THE STIRRING NATIONAL ANTHEM
THE ONLY COPY IN PRIVATE HANDS: ONE OF ELEVEN KNOWN COPIES
Francis Scott Key's famous patriotic verses were inspired by a shipboard vigil on the night of September 13-14, 1814, when a British naval flotilla bombarded Fort McHenry for hours, prefatory to a planned full-scale assault. Key, a young lawyer, and a colleague had gone on board a British ship under a flag of truce to secure the release of an American physician, Dr. William Beanes, held as a prisoner. To ensure that no military information on the impending attack could be passed to the American defenders, Key too was detained. He spent the night on the deck of the flag-of-truce sloop, which gave him a sweeping view of the dramatic scene. He watched anxiously as British naval cannon-fire and incendiary bombs and rockets rained onto the American fort. During the shelling, the very large stars and stripes flag flying from the fort's ramparts was clearly visible, giving heartening evidence that the fort's defenses had weathered the storm of shot and shell. But when the bombardment unexpectedly ceased, the American flag was obscured. Key was heart-sick. Had the fort been forced to surrender? But at dawn, when the smoke of the shelling lifted, the flag was again visible. Key's patriotic emotions were powerfully stirred by the welcome sight. His first draft of the anthem was written on shipboard, on the back of a letter, then a final version, containing four 8-line stanzas, was completed in the next few days upon Key's return to Baltimore.
His rousing song perfectly mirrored Americans' heightened patriotic fervor in the wake of the destruction of Washington and the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Broadside and newspaper printings under the title "The Defence of Fort McHenry," swiftly circulated. The verses' runaway popularity was given strong impetus when Key's lyrics were set to the tune of a well-known drinking tune "The Anacreontic Song," attributed to the English composer, John Stafford Smith (1740-1846). (On Smith's music see Richard S. Hill, "The Melody of the Star-Spangled Banner," in Essays Honoring Lawrence C. Wroth, Portland, 1915.)
Capitalizing on the great popularity for the song, the enterprising Baltimore music publisher Thomas Carr (1780-1849) quickly engraved and printed words and music together. Signs are that it was a rushed job: the name of the poet, Francis Scott Key, was omitted, and the heading proclaimed the song to be "A Pariotic Song." The sheet-music edition of the song was available for purchase at Carr's shop before 18 November. In an amended issue from the same plates, Carr corrected the misspelling: parts of the copperplate were rubbed out and re-engraved to read "A Celebrated Patriotic Song." No doubt the sheet-music--despite its spelling errors--enjoyed a brisk sale at the time and for years afterwards. Today, though, only 11 copies of the first edition are recorded; all but the present, newly discovered copy are in public institutions. This constitutes THE LAST COPY IN PRIVATE HANDS.
CENSUS OF COPIES OF THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER
1. Library of Congress
2. Indiana University, Lilly Library
3. Maryland Historical Society
4. New York Public Library, Music Division
5. The Pierpont Morgan Library (James Fuld Collection)
6. Johns Hopkins University Library, Baltimore (Levy Collection)
7. Wesleyan University (Dietrich America Foundation) 8. White House (BMI copy)
9. University of Michigan, Clements Library
10. Moravian Music Foundation, Winston-Salem, NC (Lowens Collection)
11. The present copy
It was not until 1931 that the song was officially recognized as the national anthem, although it was often used as such before that date. The first edition of this inspired anthem is extremely rare: the last copy to appear at auction was the W. Ward Beam -- Thomas Streeter copy (sale, Parke-Bernet, 20 April 1967, lot 1068, $23,000). A copy of the later, amended Carr edition was sold at Christie's, 9 December 1998, lot 96.
REFERENCES: Bibliography of American Literature, 11081, vol. 5, p. 246; P.W. Filby and E.G. Howard, eds., Star-Spangled Books, pp. 131-133; J. Fuld, Book of World-Famous Music, pp. 529-534; J. Muller, The Star Spangled Banner; Oscar Sonneck, Report on the Star Spangled Banner; Streeter Sale 1086; R.J. Wolfe, Secular Music in America, 1801-1825, vol. 3, no. 8344A.
THE BARNITZ ALBUM
The name of Miss Mary Barnitz, affixed to the top corner of "A Gale of Love," one of the songs bound with the Star-Spangled Banner, links the collection to the Barnitz and Spangler families, two of the foremost early families of York County, Pennsylvania. Jacob Barnitz of York (1758-1828), served as an ensign and lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. Wounded and captured in the defense of Fort Washington in New York in 1776, one leg later had to be amputated, and he walked with canes for the rest of his life. For many years he served as York County Recorder and Register of deeds and as secretary of the York Lutheran congregation. A son, Jacob, Jr. (1793-1883), was a member of the York Volunteer militia in August 1814 when news came of the British burning of Washington and the impending threat to Baltimore. In a documentary drawing by the chronicler and amateur artist Lewis Miller, the York militia is depicted in close formation, prior to their march to man the defenses around Baltimore (Lewis Miller: Sketches and Chronicles, p.17). Jacob, Jr., and his comrades in arms fought with the 5th Maryland Regiment under General John Stricker in the Battle of North Point (12 September) and would have witnessed the awesome night-time bombardment of Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key's verses. The company from York was commanded by Captain Michael Spangler. Jacob Barnitz, Jr., was his lieutenant. The York Volunteers were bloodied in the battle.
George Augustus Barnitz (1770-1844), a younger brother of Jacob, Sr., was the father of Mary Barnitz (1793-1886); her mother was Catherine Spangler (1769-1824), a relative of Captain Spangler. Mary is very likely the "Miss Barnitz" depicted in one of Miller's drawings, showing the singing class at the Lutheran Academy in 1805 (Lewis Miller, p. 41). In 1814 Mary was wed to John Schmidt, so she was still a Miss when the Star-Spangled Banner was published in Baltimore. It and the additional sheet music in the album were likely bound up about 1820; the extensive compilation is likely to have been used in impromptu musical gatherings of this very musical family. Lewis Miller indexes over 30 references to the Barnitz family and most of these involve music-making.
Another connection of the national anthem to York is through the Durang family. John Durang (1768-1822) was the first native-born American to be a full-time theater performer. Born in Lancaster, he grew up in York, and attended the same Lutheran Academy as Mary Barnitz. Two of his sons have been linked to the Star-Spangled Banner. Charles Durang (1796-1870) states it was first sung by his brother, Ferdinand (1785-1831), with some twenty volunteer soldiers forming the chorus, "in front of the Holliday Street Theater" and the tavern they patronized there (Sonneck, p. 12). This was done from the broadside printing of the poem. Later stories that Ferdinand chose the tune are not credible: the earliest broadside lists the tune. Ferdinand and Charles served in a Pennsylvania regiment that arrived in Baltimore after the battle. Filby believes they did not arrive early enough to sing the first public performance of the anthem (pp. 61-62). The Durangs, in their travels, likely helped spread the text and tune. In any case, they have been linked to the Star-Spangled Banner for many years.
Miss Mary Barnitz (1793-1886) of York, Pennsylvania (inscription on "A Gale of Love," bound with the Star-Spangled Banner) -- The present owner, purchased at a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, sale of a York estate.