The Morgan Library & Museum has put on display a rare first edition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” marking the 200th anniversary in 2014 of the origination of the famous anthem. And the Morgan is open today, until 5 p.m., in case you’re looking for something to do in the rain. Also, it has its regular hours this weekend.
Since it’s a holiday, I’ll quote completely from the Morgan’s press release:
Francis Scott Key’s poem, inspired by the sight of the flag defiantly flying over Fort McHenry after the British attack in September 1814, was set to the 1770s melody “To Anacreon in Heaven” by John Stafford Smith. The tune was composed for the Anacreontic Society, ironically a British music club that held its meetings at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand. Not until 1931 was “The Star-Spangled Banner” declared the nation’s official anthem by an act of Congress. Quite notably, patriotic is misspelled in the subtitle of this first edition, one of only a handful of surviving copies.
This manuscript, according to the collections record, was “Printed and sold at Carrs Music Store, 36 Baltimore Street , in Baltimore.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Morgan