Smith, Samuel Francis
Signed handwritten 1st & 4th stanzas of the national hymn, “America”
Autograph ID: 6589
Condition: Very good, light mount remnants verso, slight wrinkling, light stain and thin spot slightly impacting “S.” of signature.
Description: “(1808-1895) Clergyman-poet, editorial secretary of the American Baptist Missionary Union 1854-95. Best known as author of the national hymn “America” (“My country, ‘tis of thee,…”) published 1832 in Mason’s “The Choir”. Wrote missionary hymn “The Morning Light is Breaking”, his poetry published as “Poems of Home and Country” in 1895. “America” was first publicly sung on July 4th, 1831 at a service in Boston’s Park Street Church. Rev. Smith set the words to a melody he found in an old German songbook, unaware it was the same tune as the British national anthem, “God Save the King/Queen!” Many feel that “America” is preferable to “The Star Spangled Banner” as the US national anthem.
AQS on 2 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 lined sheets, one with 4th stanza of “America” (“Our fathers’ God, to thee, Author of Liberty, To thee we sing; Long may our land be bright, With Freedom’s holy light, Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King.”) signed “S. F. Smith” adding publication year 1832, with 2nd unsigned same size sheet with 1st stanza of “America” (“My country, ‘tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From every mountain side, Let freedom ring”) so titled by Smith at top.”