[STAR-SPANGLED BANNER, THE]. KEY, Francis Scott, poet. Fort Mc.Henry, or, The Star-Spangled Banner, Sung with great applause by Mr. Hardinge, at the Theatre Baltimore. Air, Anacreon in Heaven, printed on page 3 of HUTTON, Joseph. The Battle of the Wabash: A Patriotic Song...To the Favourite Air of Anacreon in Heaven. Philadelphia, published by G.E. Blake, n.d. [1814, after 9 October}.
Folio, 3 pages, 4to (12 7/8 x 9 in.). Engraved music and text from three engraved plates, page 1 with dropped head title in decorative calligraphy, music notated on two staves with text underlay (text of "To Anacreon in Heaven" in treble clef, 'The Battle of the Wabash" in bass clef), additional stanzas of "The Battle of the Wabash," and "To Anacreon in Heaven" at the bottom of page 2; page 3 containing only the decorative title "Fort Mc.Henry, or, The Star-Spangled Banner" and 4 full stanzas of Key's poem. Disbound (small binders' holes at inner margin, browned, ink pagination added in ink at top corners of each leaf).
THE RARE SECOND PRINTING OF THE WORDS AND MUSIC TO THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
This 1814 Philadelphia printing predates the amended first edition published in Baltimore in late 1814 or early 1815 (a copy of that issue was sold at Christie's, 9 December 1998, $22,000). Hutton's "The Battle of the Wabash" celebrated William Henry Harrison's victory over the Indian and British allies at the battle of Tippecanoe (7 November 1811), and was first published in 1812. The present is a reissue of that song (to the same music, "To Anacreon in Heaven,") but adding an extra page with the full text of Key's anthem, acknowledging the remarkable popularity of that song, which had been performed, as the subtitle notes, "to great applause" in the Baltimore Theater as early as October 1814. The sequence of the various newspaper, broadside and sheet music appearances of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is quite complex, reflecting the song's rapid dissemination and burgeoning popularity. In describing this edition, the Lilly Library exhibition catalogue notes "The generally accepted second edition is "The Battle of the Wabash" [published in Philadelphia by G.E. Blake in an undated edition but unquestionably sometime in 1814]. The words of "To Anacreon in Heaven" are also reprinted and on the final sheet "Fort McHenry, or, The Star-Spangled Banner." Muller (see below) comments that this is the only appearance of the words of Anacreon and the Banner together. As all early editions of the song are undated, it is possible only to ascribe approximate dates to any given issue, based largely on the publisher's addresses, newspaper advertisements, etc."
Francis Scott Key's stirring verses were inspired by a shipboard vigil on the night of September 13-14, 1814, while a British naval flotilla bombarded Fort McHenry. Key, a Baltimore lawyer, had gone on board a British vessel to try to secure the release of a friend, an American physician held as a prisoner. Due to the bombardment, Key was detained and forced to spend the night on the deck of the warship, watching shells rain onto the fort. During the attack the very large stars-and-stripes national flag flying from the fort was clearly visible, but when the bombardment ceased, the flag disappeared from view. Key was distraught, thinking the Fort had been captured, but at dawn, when the flag was again revealed, Key's emotions were powerfully stirred. His first draft of the anthem, entitled "Defence of Fort M'Henry," was alledgedly written on an envelope to be sung to the tune of the popular "Anacreontic Song," or "To Anacreon in Heaven," by the British composer John Stafford Smith. Upon Key's return to Baltimore, the lyrics circulated as a handbill, appeared in a Baltimore newspaper (on 20 September) and the song was widely performed by Hardinge's theatrical company. A few months later the song was published under the familiar title The Star-Spangled Banner. It was not until 1931 that the song was formally recognized as the national anthem.
Lilly Library, American Patriotic Songs: Yankee Doodle to The Conquered Banner, Indianapolis, 1968; J. Muller, The Star Spangled Banner: Words and Music Issued Between 1814-1864, pp.52-57; J.Fuld, Book of World-Famous Music, p.532; Dichter and Shapiro, p.36; P.W.Filby and E.G. Howard, Star-Spangled Books, S8; R.J. Wolff, Secular Music in America, 1801-1825, vol.3, no.8329A; I. Molotsky, The Flag, The Poet, and the Song: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner, New York, 2001.