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the group, was assigned the task of vocalising this truly inspired patriotic hymn
of the lamented Key. The old air of "Anacreon in Heaven" had been adapted
to it by the author, and Mr. Edes was desired so to print it on the top of the ballad.
Its solemn melody and impressive notes seem naturally allied to the poetry,
and speak emphatically the musical taste and judgement of Mr. Key. Ferdinand
Durang mounted an old-fashioned rush-bottomed chair, and sang this admirable
national song for the first time in our Union, the chorus to each verse being re-
echoed by those present with infinite harmony of voices. It was thus sung
several times during the morning. When the theatre was opened by Warren
and Wood, it was sung nightly, after the play, by Paddy McFarland and the

So far the historian would have plain sailing, but his troubles begin
with an article written for Harper's Magazine, 1871, volume 43, pages
254-258, by Mrs. Nellie Eyster, as appears from the printed index.
Under the title of "'The Star-Spangled Banner:' An hour with an
octogenarian," she reports an interview held on November 20, 1870,
with Mr. Hendon, of Frederick, Md., who knew Francis Scott Key
personally as a boy and who moved in 1809 to Lancaster, Pa., whence
both the Durangs hailed. Together with Charles and Ferdinand
Durang he belonged to the Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, which on
August 1, 1814, left Harrisburg in defense of Baltimore, but, remem-
bers Mr. Hendon, they "marched to the seat of war three days after
the battle had been won," and with special reference to the defense of
Fort McHenry he "was chafing like a caged tiger because [he] was not
in it." He further says that " they remained upon Gallows Hill, near
Baltimore, for three months, daily waiting for an enemy that never
came. Then, for the first time since leaving York [Pa.], [they] took
breathing time and looked about for amusement." Follows what
Admiral George Henry Preble called a more fanciful version than
Warner's account when he copied Mr. Hendon's words for a foot-
note (p. 494) in the chapter on "Our National Songs" (pp. 490-511)
in the first edition (Albany, 1872) of his industrious and popular
compilation, "Our Flag:"

"Have you heard Francis Key's poem?" said one of our men, coming in one
evening, as we lay scattered over the green hill near the captain's marquee. It
was a rude copy, and written in a scrawl which Horace Greeley might have mis-
taken for his own. He read it aloud, once, twice, three times, until the entire
division seemed electrified by its pathetic eloquence.

An idea seized Ferd. Durang. Hunting up a volume of flute music, which
was in somebody's tent, he impatiently whistled snatches of tune after tune,
just as they caught his quick eye. One, called "Anacreon in Heaven", (I have
played it often for it was in my book that he found it), struck his fancy and

14 The Star-Spangled Banner.

rivetted his attention. Note after note fell from his puckered lips until, with a
leap and 'shout, ho exclaimed "Boys, I've hit it!" and fitting the tune to the
words, they sang out for the first time the song of the Star Spangled Banner.
How the men shouted and clapped, for never was there a wedding of poetry to
music made under such inspiring influences! Getting a brief furlough, the
brothers [!!.] sang it in public soon after . . .

In the second edition of his work (1880), then called "History of
the Flag of the United States of America," Admiral Preble reprinted
this fanciful story, together with the Charles Durang and Colonel
Warner account, but again without the slightest attempt at critical
comparison and apparently without noticing that we do not have to
deal here with more or less fanciful differences, but with reminiscent
accounts that exclude each other. What subsequent writers con-
tributed in this vein to the literature on "The Star-Spangled Ban-
ner" may be disregarded since they merely paraphrased with more
or less accuracy what they found in Preble or in his sources, as for
instance, when one writer in the American Historical Record, 1873,
volume 2, pages 24-25, carelessly mentions Charles instead of Ferdi-
nand Durang as the first singer of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
However, a belated version with fanciful variations of the main
theme should be noticed, as it was printed sometime in 1897 in the
Philadelphia Ledger and from there reprinted in substance in the
Iowa Historical Record, July, 1897, page 144. According to this,
"the second day after the words were written, Ferdinand Durang
was rummaging in his trunk in a tavern in Baltimore, where he had
his baggage, for music to suit the words, and finally selected that of
'Anacreon in Heaven.' By the time he had sung the third verse, in
trying the music to the words, the little tavern was full of people,
who spontaneously joined in the chorus. The company was soon
joined by the author of the words, Francis Scott Key, to whom the
tune was submitted for approval, who also took up the refrain of the
chorus, thus indorsing the music. A few nights afterward ' The Star-
Spangled Banner' being called for by the audience at the Holliday
Street Theater, in Baltimore, Ferdinand Durang sang it from the
stage. Durang died in New York in 1832. Durang had a brother,
Charles, also a soldier in the ' Blues, ' who was likewise an actor, who
died in Philadelphia in 1875. . . ."

Finally an account deserves to be reprinted here in part, because
it mentioned the person who set Key's poem in type, though otherwise
the lines quoted are not overly accurate, as the reader of the Taney
letter will notice. It appeared in the Baltimore American on Sep-
tember 12, 1872, together with a facsimile of the article, etc., of
September 21, 1814, and reads in part:

We have placed at the head of this article this now immortal national song
just as it first saw the light in print fifty-eight years ago . . . This song, as the

The Star-Spangled Banner. 15

form in which it is given shows, was published anonymously. The poet, Fran-
cis Scott Key, was too modest to announce himself, and it was some time after its
appearance that he became known as its author . . . Mr. Skinner chanced to
meet Mr. Key on the flag-of-truce boat, obtained from him a copy of his song, and
he furnished the manuscript to "The American " after the fight was over. It was
at once put in type and published. It was also printed in slips and extensively
circulated. The "printer's boy," then employed in the office of "The Ameri-
can," who put this song in type, survives in full vigor, our respected friend, the
editor and publisher of the "American Farmer," Samuel Sands, Esq.

That to Ferdinand Durang belongs the honor of having first sung
Key's poem is unanimously asserted (except by those who confuse
him with his brother Charles), but it remains an open question when
and where he might so have done. On this point, the two earwit-
nesses, Charles Durang and Mr. Hendon, disagree. According to the
reminiscences of- the latter, the event must have happened at least
three months after September 14 in camp on Gallows Hill near Balti-
more. Now, it has already been mentioned that the brief account of
the circumstances leading to the writing of Key's poem printed in
the Baltimore American on September 21, preceded the full text of
the poem under the heading ''Defence of Fort M'Henry" with the
remark "Tune: Anacreon in Heaven." It may be that Mr. Hendon
heard Ferdinand Durang sing the hymn in camp after September 21,
but it stands to reason that at least as early as September 21 other
vocally inclined readers of the Baltimore American enjoyed the com-
bination of Key's "Defence of Fort M'Henry," and the tune "To
Anacreon in Heaven." If we possessed no other contemporary
evidence, Ferdinand Durang's claims would rest upon very shaky
grounds indeed, nor is the rest of Mr. Hendon's story at all of a nature
as to inspire reliance upon his memory. Mr. Elson in his "National
Music of America" (p. 202) bluntly expressed his suspicion to the effect
that "never was a bolder or more fantastical claim set up in musical
history," and every musician will agree with him that the "puckered
lips" and the frantic hunt for a suitable tune in a volume of flute
music is sheer journalistic nonsense, which verdict applies also to the
Philadelphia Ledger account. And his hunt for a melody happened
three months after the tune, to which the words were to keep com-
pany, had been publicly announced!

The suspicious character of Mr. Hendon's long-distance reminis-
cences leaves those of Charles Durang to stand on their own merits,
but unfortunately they do not help us in fixing the exact date of the
first performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Charles Durang
merely remembered having been one of the chorus when his brother
Ferdinand and about twenty volunteer soldiers who used to con-
gregate at the adjoining tavern in the morning first sang the song
after Ben. Edes brought it round to them on one of those libating

16 The Star-Spangled Banner.

mornings. This may have been the morning of September 15, when
Samuel Sands, the apprentice, is popularly supposed to have set
the poem as a broadside, or any other morning, including a morning
after September 21, when the poem had appeared with indication of
the tune in the Baltimore American. Nor is Colonel Warner's account,
who perhaps was a descendant of Capt. Thomas Warner, which pos-
sibility would give his account the strength of a family tradition,
more explicit on this point. At this tavern, it being a southern Sep-
tember morning, may mean practically the same as in Charles
Durang's version, in front of the adjoining Ilolliday Street Theater.
There Captain Edes, in company of Capt. Thomas Warner, is said to
have called the attention of the group of volunteers "to a patriotic
song which [he] had just struck off at his press." Consequently,
neither Durang nor Warner substantiate the popular version that
Ferdinand Durang sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the first
time on September 15, 1814. Nor do they even substantiate the
universally accepted theory that the broadside was struck off Edes's
press on September 15! Indeed, not even Key-Taney's report:
"Judge Nicholson . . . immediately sent it [the manuscript] to a
printer, and directed copies to be struck off in hand-bill form,"
necessarily implies the conclusion that they were struck off on the
morning of September 15. At any rate, the story that Key's poem
was taken to a printer, set as a broadside, distributed about town,
read, discussed, sung with great gusto, etc., and all this on the morning
of September 15, 1814, belongs to the realm of unwholesome fiction!
On the evening of September 15 "The Star-Spangled Banner,"
says Mr. F. S. Key Smith, was "rendered upon the stage of the
Holliday Street Theater by an actress." Also Ferdinand Durang is
mentioned in this connection by some writers, and others proffer other
names. What are the facts ? In the first place, the suspicions of the
historians should have been aroused by the observation that the actor-
manager, Wood, in his autobiography does not mention any theatrical
performances at Baltimore in September, 1814. In the second place,
if they had consulted the Baltimore papers of that period, such as
the Federal Gazette, Baltimore Patriot, Baltimore American none of
which was published, by the way, by Benjamin Edes! they would
have found no theatrical performances announced in September, 1814,
at all, but they would have found a notice in the Federal Gazette,
September 20, to the effect that "about 600 Pennsylvania troops
arrived yesterday," among them a Lancaster company, apparently
the very militia troops to which Ferdinand Durang belonged. Not
only this, the historians would further have found from the same
source that the theater was not opened until October 12, 1814- No
reference to "The Star-Spangled Banner" appears in the announce-
ments of this evening or of the benefit performance on October 14

The Star-Spangled Banner. 17

"to aid the fund for the defence of the city," unless hidden away on
the benefit program as "a patriotic epilogue by Mrs. Mason." On
this evening Ferdinand Durang did appear dancing a " military horn-
pipe." With a little patience the historians at last would have found
in the announcement of the historical play "Count Benyowski" for
Wednesday evening, October 19, 1814 (in the Baltimore American
appears October 15 as a misprint), the following lines, which at last
shed the light of fact on the whole matter :

After the play, Mr. Harding [the Federal Gazette spells the name Hardinge]
will sing a much admired New Song, written by a gentleman of Maryland, in
commemoration of the GALLANT DEFENCE OF FORT M'HENRY, called, THE STAR

The rather immaterial question of whether or not and when and
where Ferdinand Durang possibly sang "The Star-Spangled Banner"
for the first time leads up to the much more important question:
How came the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven," and no other, to be
wedded to Key's poem ? Chief Justice Taney, as anybody can see
and as all should have seen before rusliing into print with their
stories, is absolutely silent on this point. So is Charles Durang.
Colonel Warner says :

The old air of Anacreon in Heaven had been adapted to it by the author, and
Mr. Edes was desired so to print it on to the top of the ballad.

The most reliable reports, therefore, do not mention Ferdinand
Durang at all in this connection. He figures as musical godfather
to "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the journalistic reports only and
under rather suspicious circumstances. However, there exists another
and different version. Mrs. Rebecca Lloyd Shippen, of Baltimore, a
granddaughter of Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson and a greatniece
of Francis Scott Key, contributed to the Pennsylvania Magazine of
History and Biography, 1901-2, volume 25, pages 427-428, an article
on "The Original Manuscript of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' " of
which more will have to be said further on. In this article we read:

Judge Nicholson wrote a little piece that appears at the heading of the lines,
above which he also wrote the name of the tune " Anacreon in Heaven " a tune
which Mrs. Charles Howard, the daughter of Francis Scott Key, told me was a
common one at that day and Judge Nicholson, being a musician among his other
accomplishments and something of a poet, no doubt took but a few minutes to see
that the lines given him by Francis Scott Key could be sung to that tune, and,
in all haste to give the lines as a song to the public, he thus marked it. I possess
this rare original manuscript, kept carefully folded by his wife, Rebecca Lloyd
Nicholson, and taken from her private papers by myself [Mrs. Shippen] and

Judge Nicholson's part in the history of "The Star-Spangled Ban-
ner" was narrated in substantially the same manner in editorial foot-
notes to an article on "The Star-Spangled Banner," copied largely
from Chief Justice Taney by Mrs. Shippen, for the Pennsylvania
8548009 2

18 The Star-Spangled Banner.

Magazine of History and Biography, 1888-99, volume 22, pages
321-325. It follows that the editor was either inspired by Mrs.
Shippen or Mrs. Shippen by the editor. Careful reading of this par-
ticular part of the article implies that we have to deal here with a
personal opinion, not with contemporary evidence, or even with a
family tradition. Waiving aside for the present some doubts as to
the accuracy of the story as quoted above, the main contention
appears to be that Judge Nicholson supplied the tune. IJght is shed
on the whole matter if the history of the tune "To Anacreon in
Heaven" in England and America is briefly summarized.

For a long time the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" was attrib-
uted, if attributed to any composer at all, to Dr. Samuel Arnold
(1740-1802). Of this opinion were J. C. (in Baltimore Clipper, 1841),
Nason (1869), Salisbury (1872), and others. The general inability to
substantiate this rumor finally led to one of the most grotesquely
absurd articles in musical literature, namely that in the American
Art Journal, 1896 (v. 68, pp. 194-195), by J. Fairfax McLaughlin,
under the title "The Star-Spangled Banner! Who Composed the
Music for It. It is American, not English." The Musical Times, of
London, 1896 (pp. 516-519), immediately challenged Mr. McLaugh-
lin's statements and elaborately buried his patriotic aspirations,
though this service could have been rendered him just as neatly by a
reference to Mr. William ChappelTs article "The Star-Spangled Ban-
ner and To Anacreon in Heaven" in Notes and Queries, 1873, fourth
series, volume 11, pages 50-51, or to the footnote on page 6 of Mr.
Stephen Salisbury's "Essay on The Star-Spangled Banner," 1873,
where the contents of a pertinent letter from Mr. William Chappell
were made public.

In the following pages a combination is attempted of the data,
so far as I could verify them in the articles by Chappell and X in the
Musical Times with the data in Grove's Dictionary and elsewhere,
adding to or deducting from this information the results of a corre-
spondence with such esteemed British authors as Mr. Frank Kidson,
Mr. William Barclay Squire, and Mr. W. H. Grattan Flood.

In his "Musical Memoirs" (1830, Vol. I, pp. 80-84) W. T. Parke
entered under the year 1786 these entertaining lines:

This season I became an honorary member of the Anacreontic Society, and at
the first meeting played a concerto on the oboe, as did Cramer on the violin. The
assemblage of subscribers was as usual very numerous, amongst whom were sev-
eral noblemen and gentlemen of the first distinction. Sir Richard Hankey
(the banker) was the chairman. This fashionable society consisted of a limited
number of members, each of whom had the privilege of introducing a friend, for
which he paid in his subscription accordingly. The meetings were held in the
great ball-room of the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, once a fortnight
during the season, and the entertainments of the evening consisted of a grand
concert, in which all the flower of the musical profession assisted as honorary
members. After the concert an elegant supper was served up; and when the

The Star-Spangled Banner. 19

cloth was removed, the constitutional song, beginning, "To Anacreon in Heaven,"
was sung by the chairman or his deputy. This was followed by songs in all the
varied styles, by theatrical singers and the members, and catches and glees were
given by some of the first vocalists in the kingdom. The late chairman, Mr.
Mulso, possessed a good tenor voice, and sang the song alluded to with great
effect . . .

This society, to become members of which noblemen and gentlemen would
wait a year for a vacancy, was by an act of gallantry brought to a premature dis-
solution. The Duchess of Devonshire, the great leader of the haut ton, having
heard the Anacreontic highly extolled, expressed a particular wish to some of
its members to be permitted to be privately present to hear the concert, &c.,
which being made known to the directors, they caused the elevated orchestra
occupied by the musicians at balls to be fitted up, with a lattice affixed to the
front of it, for the accommodation of her grace and party, so that they could see,
without being seen; but, some of the comic songs, not being exactly calculated
for the entertainment of ladies, the singers were restrained; which displeasing
many of the members, they resigned one after another; and a general meeting being
called, the society was dissolved.

Misreading slightly Mr. Parke's reminiscences, C. M. in Grove's
Dictionary claimed that Parke wrote of the dissolution of the club
in 1786, which he, of course, did not do. Nor would the year 1786
be tenable, since Pohl in his scholarly book on "Mozart and Haydn
in London," 1867 (v. 2, p. 107), gleaned from the Gazetteer of Jan-
uary 14, 1791, that Haydn was the guest of honor at the society's
concert on January 12. Nor is Mr. Grattan Flood correct if he, in
some "Notes on the Origin of 'To Anacreon in Heaven,' " sent me
in June, 1908, dates the dissolution of the society 1796. (While fully
appreciating the courtesy of Mr. W. H. Grattan Flood in transmitting
these notes, I regret the inadvisability of using them, except in con-
nection with other sources, because these notes are singularly at
variance with the contents of several letters sent me by Mr. Grattan
Flood on the same subject, and because these notes contain certain
positive statements without reference to source which it would be
unmethodical to accept unreservedly.) The "Musical Directory for
the Year 1794" in the "List of various musical societies" states dis-
tinctly: "The Anacreontic Society which met at the Crown and
Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, the festivities of which were heightened
by a very Select Band." Consequently the society no longer existed
in 1794. This is not at all contradicted by the entry under Dr.
Samuel Arnold "Conductor at Acad[emy of Ancient Music], Ana-
[creontic Society]," because the title-page distinctly reads "musical
societies of which they [the professors of music] are or have been,
members." (To avoid confusion it may be here added that "To
Anacreon in Heaven" is not contained in the "Anacreontic Songs for
1, 2, 3, & 4 voices composed and selected by Dr. Arnold and dedi-
cated by permission to the Anacreontic Society," London, J. Bland,

20 The Star-Spangled Banner.

If it is now clear that the Anacreontic Society must have been dis-
solved between 1791 and 1794, the year of its foundation is not
equally clear, and therefore it is a somewhat open question since
when "To Anacreon in Heaven" can have been sung as the "consti-
tutional" song of this society. Mr. Grattan Flood writes in his
"Notes" mentioned above:

The words and music of "To Anacreon" were published by Longman and
Broderip in 1779-1780, and were reprinted by Anne Lee of Dublin (71780) in 1781.
Dr. Cummings says that he saw a copy printed by Henry Fought at least it is
made up with single sheet songs printed by Fought but this is scarcely likely, as
Fought did not print after 1770, and the song and music were not in existence till
1770-71 . . .

Mr. William Barclay Squire in a letter dated September 21, 1908,
refers to the dates of these two publications, which contain both the
words and the music, in the guarded sentence, "Both are about 1780,
but it is quite impossible to tell the exact dates." The Longman &
Broderip edition is the one the title of which Mr. William Chappell
transcribed for Notes and Queries, 1873 :

The Anacreontic Song, as sung at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand,
the words by Ralph Tomlinson, Esq. late President of that Society. Printed by
Longman and Broderip, No. 26 Cheapside, and No. 13 Heymarket.

With reference to Dr. William Cummings's statement that he saw
a copy printed by Fought, I have not found any such statement by
Doctor Cummings in print. Apparently Mr. Grattan Flood reported
part of a conversation with the distinguished English scholar, but in
reply to a pertinent inquiry Doctor Cummings sent, under date of
November 7, 1908, this brief note:

I had a copy of Smith's "To Anacreon" pub.[lished] in 1771. I showed it at a
public lecture, but cannot now find it. I have two copies of a little later date.
The first named was a single sheet song.

Doctor Cummings evidently was not willing to commit his memory
under the circumstances on the point of imprint, nor does he make it
clear whether or no Smith's name appeared on the sheet song as that
of the composer. Assuming that Doctor Cummings had every solid
reason to date this, the earliest known issue, of "To Anacreon," 1771,
it follows that words and music must have been written at the latest
in 1771 and at the earliest in the year of foundation of the "Anacreon-
tic Society," which is unfortunately unknown.

In 1786, according to Parke, the chairman of the society was Sir
Richard Hankey, whose immediate predecessor seems to have been
Mr. Mulso. About 1780 Ralph Tomlinson, esq., appears in the Long-
man & Broderip edition, as the "late President of the Society," and
no other gentleman has yet been found to have preceded him in the
chair. However, such biographical data are irrelevant for the present
purpose, and attention might now profitably be called to "The Vocal

The Star-Spangled Banner. 21

Magazine; or, British Songster's Miscellany" (London, 1778), in
which are published on pages 147-148 as Song 566, without indica-
tion of the tune, as is the case with all the songs in the collection, the

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