Stephen Collins Foster papers, 1856-1946, 1931-1946 (bulk dates)

Descriptive Summary

Title
Stephen Collins Foster papers, 1856-1946, 1931-1946 (bulk dates)
Creator
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864.
Extent
.8 cubic ft. (144 pieces)
Subjects
Allison, Young Ewing, 1853-1932.
Christy, Edwin P, 1815-1862.
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864.
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864--Monuments.
Lilly, Eli, 1885-
Lilly, Josiah Kirby, 1893-1966.
Rowan family.
Townsend, John Wilson, 1885-1968.
Welch, Marion Foster.
Wilson, Samuel M. (Samuel Mackay), 1871-1946.
Christy's Ministrels.
My Old Kentucky Home State Park.
Music and society.
State songs.
Composers.
Clippings.
Speeches
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Composer. Foster, a native of Pennsylvania, began writing and publishing music in the 1840's. In 1851 he entered into an agreement with E. P. Christy, leader of the Christy's Minstrels, which permitted the singers to introduce his compositions in public before publication. According to tradition, Foster's visits to the Rowan family mansion near Bardstown, Federal Hill, inspired the writing of "My Old Kentucky Home." The tune, published in 1853, was later adopted as Kentucky's state song. Foster died in New York in 1864. Marion Foster Welch was Stephen Foster's daughter.
Scope and Content
This collection consists primarily of correspondence of Samuel M. Wilson concerning the life and work of composer Stephen Collins Foster. Much of the Wilson correspondence was with Josiah Lilly, an heir to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company and an expert on Foster. There are other letters to and from Foster descendants and copies of correspondence of Young E. Allison and John Wilson Townsend. Some of the letters describe efforts to ascertain if Foster actually visited Bardstown, and if so, when. Other letters concern memorials to the composer and commemorations of his anniversaries. The collection also includes pamphlets, printed Foster sheet music, periodicals, clippings, and a speech given by Wilson at My Old Kentucky Home State Park. There is also a copy of a verse of "My Old Kentucky Home" written and autographed by Marion Foster Welch in 1934.

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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.