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criticism, and if one, by this process, is eliminated then all reason-
able scepticism will vanish from the other.

The three observations called forth by the broadside championed
by Preble and Dielman are curious indeed in view of the fact that the
Baltimore American, when publishing Key's poem on September 21,
1814, preceded by a brief historical note, did not print the title "The
Star-Spangled Banner," but instead "Defence of Fort McHenry,"
did not mention Key by name at all, but added: "Tune: Anacreon
in Heaven." Key's poem and this is a fact hitherto rarely, if ever,
pointed out made its first appearance in an American songster in
the very rare "National Songster, or, a collection of the most admired
patriotic songs, on the brilliant victories achieved by the naval and
military-heroes . . . First Hagerstown edition," Hagerstown [Md.],
John Gruber and Daniel May, 1814 on p. 30-31 under the title of

"DEFENCE OP FORT M'HENRY.
Tune: Anacreon In Heaven.

Wrote by an American Gentleman [!], who was compelled to witness the bom-
bardmentof FortM'Henry, onboard of a flag vessel at the mouth of the Patapeco."

Evidently the compiler of the National Songster clipped Key's poem
from the Baltimore American and did not use a copy of this broadside.
If, as Mrs. Shippen insists (Pa. Mag. of Hist., 1901-2, pp. 427-428)
her grandfather's broadside was "One of those first printed hand-
bills," why was Key's name suppressed in the Baltimore American's
account after Judge Nicholson had permitted it to go on the handbill
which he himself had ordered at the printing office? One might
suspect that in view of the vindicative nature of the British it was
deemed safer for Mr. Key to suppress the name of the author of " Their
foul footsteps' pollution" in a paper of fairly healthy circulation, but
this explanation is not plausible, because the historical note in the
Baltimore American could have left no doubt of the offender's
identity in the minds of British officers should they have been in a
position to catch Key. Possibly Key's modesty would not permit
disclosure of his authorship, but what could his modesty avail him,
if the broadside with his name had already been favorably received
by the public of Baltimore ? And not merely this, we have the words
of Mrs. Shippen :

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."



The Star-Spangled Banner. 31

Obviously this action of Judge Nicholson can not apply to the
broadside which contains "no little piece" nor indication of the tune,
but it does apply to the account in the Baltimore American. Hence it
would have been Judge Nicholson himself who withheld Key's name
from the newspapers after he had given it to the public in a broadside.
Furthermore, the Baltimore American account was bodily reprinted
in the National Intelligencer September 27, 1814, under the same
title " Defence of Fort M'Henry," and at the bottom of the anonymous
poem appears the editorial note : " Whoever is the author of those lines
they do equal honor to his principles and his talent!" Consequently,
not even the editor of a paper printed at Washington, D. C., prac-
tically Key's home, knew of his authorship as late as September 27.
Indeed, the anonymous " gentleman" figures in the Baltimore
American at least as late as October 19, 1814. There is another
suspicious circumstance. It should have aroused surprise ere this
that Samuel Sands, the apprentice, set up at a moment's notice such
an elaborate ornamental handbill as described by Preble and fac-
similed by Dielman. The boy must have had remarkably precocious
artistic instincts indeed, and very rapid hands and eyes. But why
did he refuse to follow copy; why are there several differences between
his broadside and the so-called original manuscript? Thus one
becomes convinced that this broadside is not and can not have been a
copy of the one struck off before the publication in the Baltimore
American, but a copy of a broadside published considerably after that
date, when Key's authorship was no longer kept a secret, when his
poem had changed at least in print, the earliest manuscript extant
has none its title from "Defence of Fort McHenry" to "The Star-
Spangled Banner," and when verbal differences in the text had com-
menced to be quite frequent. The Preble-Dielman broadside thus
being eliminated, only the Nicholson-Shippen-Walters broadside
remains for serious consideration, and as far as I can see, it contains
absolutely nothing to arouse our suspicion. In absence of proof to
the contrary, it may indeed be called a copy, perhaps a unique copy,
of the original broadside edition.

We turn our attention to the whereabouts of the original manu-
script of Key's poem.

Mrs. Shippen writes in the article already quoted:

Having heard several times of late that there are in existence several original
copies, of the lines written on the night of September 12 [sic!], 1814 ... by
Francis Scott Key . . . and as I am the fortunate possessor of the only document
that could exist of these lines the original manuscript I will explain how it
seems possible that there could be more than one . . . [follows a partly inaccu-
rate account based on Taney] ... It is the back of that old letter, unsigned, that
Francis Scott Key (my great-uncle) gave to Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson



32 The Star-Spangled Banner.

(my grandfather) that I possess, together with one of those first printed handbills
. . . Judge Nicholson [seeing] that the lines given him by Francis Scott Key
could be sung to that tune [to Anacreon in Heaven] and in all haste to give the
lines as a song to the public, he thus marked it. I possess this rare original manu-
script, kept carefully folded by his wife, Rebecca Lloyd Nicholson and taken
from her private papers by myself and framed. . . .

This is a clear-cut claim of possession of the original manuscript,
and yet Mrs. Shippen herself undermines the claim by closing her
interesting article thus :

. . . The first piece of paper on which the lines he composed were written on
the night of his arrival in Baltimore I have in my possession; the same that Mr.
Key himself gave to Judge Nicholson.

These statements slightly contradict each other, as a careful read-
ing of Chief Justice Taney's account, on which Mrs. Shippen partly
bases her claim, will prove. According to Taney, Francis Scott Key
told him that

(1) He commenced it [the poem] on the deck of their vessel . . .
that he had written some lines or brief notes that would aid him in
calling them to mind, upon the back of a letter which he happened
to have in his pocket; and for some of the lines, as he proceeded,
he was obliged to rely altogether on his memory.

(2) He finished it in the boat on his way to the shore.

(3) He wrote it out as it now stands, at the hotel, on the night he
reached Baltimore and immediately after he arrived.

(4) On the next morning he took it to Judge Nicholson.
Consequently, a distinction is here made between the autograph

sketch of the poem commenced on the cartel vessel and finished on
the back of a letter in the boat before reaching Baltimore, and a
written out autograph copy of the sketch. It is the latter which he
took to Judge Nicholson for his critical opinion, and, of course, not
the sketch on the back of the letter. In the first quotation from her
article Mrs. Shippen describes this sketch ; in the second quotation,
the manuscript as written out after Key's arrival at Baltimore.
These two different manuscripts she confuses, not realizing the dis-
tinction implied in Chief Justice Taney's narrative. Hence she
considered herself Judge Nicholson's heir to the original manyscript
of "The Star-Spangled Banner," whereas she really possessed, and
Mr. Henry Walters, of Baltimore, now possesses, not the original
manuscript, but Key's first clean copy of the original manuscript,
sketched and finished under such peculiar circumstances. What
became of this sketch we do not know. The probabilities are that
Key destroyed it after he had neatly written out his poem at the hotel.
The Library of Congress is not in a position to inclose here for purpose
of comparison and analysis a photographic facsimile of Key's manu-
script, as now possessed by Mr. Walters, but fortunately a facsimile



The Star-Spangled Banner. 33

may be found in the Century Magazine, 1894, page 362, and in Diel-
man's pamphlet "Maryland, the Seventh Star." Nobody looking
at these facsimiles or the original can concede that the latter has the
appearance of a filled-in sketch. It is too neatly written for that,
the lines are too symmetrically spaced and the whole manuscript
contains practically only two corrections: In the first stanza Key
wrote and then crossed out "through" instead of "by the dawn's early
light," and in the third, " They have wash'd out" instead of " Their
blood has wash'd out." The manuscript contains no signature, no
title, nor indication of tune. This is mentioned particularly because
Mrs. Shippen's article might convey the impression that the manu-
script is "thus marked." The visible effects of folding do not point
at all to the "old letter" in Key's pocket, since Mrs. Shippen's
manuscript had been "kept carefully folded" by Judge Nicholson's
wife.

Unquestionably, the manuscript now at the Walters Gallery is the
earliest extant of "The Star-Spangled Banner." In after years Key
presented signed autograph copies to friends and others, but just
how many such copies he made is not known. At any rate, it is not
surprising that the existence of several autograph copies led to con-
fusion as to the earliest, the incorrectly so-called original, copy. An
attempt shall now be made to separate intelligently such copies as
have come to my notice principally by way of Admiral Treble's
several contradictory contributions to the subject.

Charles Durang, in the Historical Magazine, 1864, pages 347-348,
claimed that "the original draft, with its interlinations and amend-
atory erasures, etc. was purchased by the late Gen. George Keim,
of Reading, and I suppose his heirs have it now."

Without the slightest hesitation Preble used this statement in his
book "Our Flag" (1st ed., 1872, p. 495). In 1874 Preble wrote in
his essay "Three Historical Flags" (New Engl. Hist, and Gen. Reg.,
pp. 39-40), that this particular copy was

Presented by Mr. Key in 1842 to Gen. George Keim and is now in possession
of his eon Henry May Keim, Esq. of Reading, Penn. ... I have a photo-
graphic copy of the authograph in the possession of Mr. Keim.

Retracting his former statement about the original draft, with its
erasures, in a footnote on the same page, Preble states that his pho-
tograph shows it to be "a fair copy, written out by Mr. Key, and I
learn from Gen. Keim's son that the autograph was presented to
his father by Mr. Key."

A facsimile of this was made for the Baltimore Sanitary Fair in
1864, so Mr. Keim informed Admiral Preble January 8, 1874 (see
New Engl. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1877, pp. 29), but, if made, it cer-
tainly was not included by Kennedy and Bliss in their "Autograph
8548009 3



34 The Star-Spangled Banner.

Leaves," as the Library of Congress copy of this work proves. Pre-
ble gave the text of the Keim copy, though not in facsimile, in his
essay, "Three Historic Flags" (1874). In the second edition of his
"History of Our Flag" (1880) he then informed his readers that
Gen. George Keim's copy had "since [been] presented to the Penn-
sylvania Historical Society by his son." This statement is somewhat
puzzling, because the text of the Keim copy quoted by Preble, 1874,
the dedication "To Gen. Keim," and the undated signature "F. S.
Key" are identical with those of a supposed "Star-Spangled Banner"
autograph in possession of Mr. Robert A. Dobbin, of Baltimore, Md.
When generously loaning this to the Library of Congress for exhi-
bition purposes and granting us the privilege to reproduce it in fac-
simile (see Appendix, Plate VII). Mr. Dobbin, under date of March
24, 1909, wrote:

Mr. Key was an intimate friend of Gen. Keim of Pennsylvania. On account
of this intimacy and as a mark of the friendship which existed between them,
Mr. Key gave this copy, which I have loaned you, to General Keim. You will
note that Gen. Keim's name is in Mr. Key's handwriting.

Mr. Charles W. Keim, a son of General Keim, came into possession of this
copy after the death of his father, and a few years before his own death presented
it to my late wife, who was a granddaughter of Mr. Francis Scott Key.

Mr. Dobbin apparently was not aware of the fact that he possessed
a photograph, not an original autograph, the photograph even show-
ing the marks of thumb tacks. Consequently, not he but the Penn-
sylvania Historical Society is in the possession of the Keim copy,
which, with its approximate date, 1842, is, of course, as far removed
from the original draft with its erasures as is possible. It is here
reproduced by permission of the society (see Appendix, Plate V).

Benson John Lossing wrote in footnote (p. 956), in his Pictorial
Fieldbook of the War of 1812, first edition, 1868:

The fac-simile of the original manuscript of the first stanza of the "Star
Spangled Banner," given on the opposite page, was first published, by permission
of its owner (Mrs. Howard) daughter of the author [Key], in "Autograph Leaves
of our Country's Authors," a volume edited by John P. Kennedy and Alexander
Bliss for the Baltimore Sanitary Fair, 1864.

Accepting Lossing's statement, Preble in his essay, "Three Historic
Flags," 1874, credited Mrs. Charles Howard, of Baltimore, with the
possession of this autograph. As the facsimile in the "Autograph
Leaves" shows, it bears the title "The Star-Spangled Banner" and
the signature "F. S. Key," but no dedication and no date. The
handwriting has not the firmness of youth, and it stands to reason
that Key wrote this manuscript in late life. Admiral Preble had
occasion in his essay, "The Star-Spangled Banner," New England
Historical and Genealogical Register, 1877, pages 28-31, to correct
Lossing's statement of ownership, since Mrs. Howard wrote him under
date of April 25, 1874:



The Star-Spangled Banner. 35

I do not think I ever had an autograph of The Star-Spangled Banner. My
father [F. S. Key] gave his children from the time they could speak, the habit of
committing poetry to memory, and in that way only has the song been preserved
to me. Except in one or two words, Mr. Keim's version, as you have it, is the
one I have ever remembered.

Though, therefore, Mrs. Howard disclaimed ownership of this par-
ticular autograph, yet it must have existed and is, to judge by the
facsimile, genuine.

Another autograph of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was thus
described by Preble in his book, "Our Flag," 1872:

A copy of the poem in Key's own handwriting, a copy prepared many years
after its composition, and evidently in the exact language intended by its author
(as it was presented by him to James Mahar, who for thirty years was the gardener
of the executive mansion), was a few years since, exhibited in the window of
Messrs. Phillip & Solomons, on Pennsylvania avenue, Washington. The identity
of the handwriting was certified to by Judge Dunlop, Nicholas Callen, Esq.,
Peter Force and others, all of whom were intimately acquainted with Mr. Key
and perfectly familiar with his style of penmanship. In fact his style was eo
peculiar and uniform, that it would be almost impossible for anyone who had ever
noticed it with ordinary care to be mistaken.

This report Preble evidently took from a copy of the National
Intelligencer, from which he further quoted "verbatim" the text of
the Mahar autograph which evidently bore the title: "The Star-
Spangled Banner" and the signature "For Mr. Jas. Mahar, of Wash-
ington city, Washington, June 7, 1842. From F. S. Key."

In his essay, "Three Historic Flags," Preble merely added that the
Mahar copy was exhibited at Washington "in 1843, after Mr. Key's
death." The present whereabouts of the Mahar copy is unknown
to me.

Finally, in his essay, "The Star-Spangled Banner," 1877 (already
quoted above), Preble remarked of a copy, dated October 21, 1840:

It was first published in fac-simile in the American Historical and Literary Curi-
osities (PI. LV) by John Jay Smith [Sec. Ser. N. Y. 1860, pi. 55] who stated the
original was in the possession of Louis J. Cist.

Preble enlivened his narrative by adding a reduced facsimile of this
1840 copy, and he again used it in the second edition of his "History
of Our Flag," 1880. From there it was reproduced by Miss Mary L. D.
Ferris in the New England Magazine, 1890, for her article on "Our
national songs " (pp. 483-504) . Another facsimile is in the possession
of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, as Mr. E. M. Barton,
the librarian, informed me. The American Antiquarian Society re-
ceived it on October 21, 1875, from Maj. Albert H. Hoyt, then editor
of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. The orig-
inal seems to have disappeared until offered for sale as No. 273 in Stan.
V. Henkel's catalogue of the Rogers collection of autograph letters,
etc., 1895. The added facsimile shows absolute identity in date,



86 The Star-Spangled Banner.

signature, orthography, appearance, and every other detail with the
facsimile at Worcester.

To sum up, it appears that, not counting the original draft, at least
five copies of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Francis Scott Key's
handwriting exist, or at least existed :

(1) The Judge Nicholson-Mrs. Shippen-Walters copy, 1814. (Walters.)

(2) The Louis J. Cist copy, 1840. (Cist, present whereabouts unknown.)

(3) The supposed Howard copy, ca. 1840. (Howard.)

(4) The Gen. Keim-Pennsylvania Historical Soc. copy. (Pa. Hist. Soc.)

(5) The Mahar copy, 1842. (Mahar.)

There may be other copies, but these five are sufficient for the pur-
pose of showing the changes Francis Scott Key himself made in his
poem. The different versions would, as often happens in such cases,
be used by different compilers. In course of time verbal inaccuracies
would creep from one song book into the other. Also the compilers
themselves have sometimes felt justified in improving Key's text.
The result of all this has been, of course, that gradually Key's text
became unsettled. As early as 1872 Preble marked the verbal differ-
ences between certain different versions, and since then surely the
confusion has not decreased. Hence, very properly, the cry for an
authoritative text has been raised. What should constitute such a
text, whether one of Key's own version, or a combination of them, or
any later "improved" version, it is not for me to say, though I may
be permitted to remark that in my opinion there is no reason for going
outside of Key's own intentions. At any rate, I do not consider it my
duty to wade through endless song books in order to trace all the
verbal inaccuracies and alterations of the text of "The Star-Spangled
Banner." The comparison will be extensive enough for all practical
purposes if it be limited to Key's own five versions, to the earliest
printed versions, and to the one in his collected poems. They will be
distinguished from each other, where necessary, by the words written
in parenthesis. These printed texts here compared with the earliest
manuscript extant are:

In this connection part of the memorandum of Dr. A. R. Spofford, November 19,
1907, is very instructive. He wrote:

"A collation of this authentic copy [i. e., the Cist copy], with several widely cir-
culated collections of songs, shows numerous variations and omissions: Following is
a statement of a few of these, with the number of discrepancies found in each:

"Nason (E). A Monogram [!] on our National Songs. Albany, 1869. (11 varia-
tions from original, and one stanza omitted.)

"Higgins (Edwin). The Star-Spangled Banner. Baltimore, 1898. (7 variations.)
"Sousa (J. P.). National and Patriotic Airs of All Lands. Philadelphia, 1890.
(14 variations, with a fifth stanza added, which was not written by Key.)
"Bryant (W. C.). Library of Poetry and Song. New York, 1880. (8 variations.)
"Dana (C. D.). Household Poetry. New York, 1859. (7 variations.)
"Coates (H. T.). Fireside Encycloposdia of Poetry. Philadelphia, 1879. (9
variations.)



The Star-Spangled Banner. 37

(6) The Walters Broadside. (Broadside I.)

(7) The Preble-Dielman Broadside. (Broadside II.)

(8) Baltimore American, 1814. (Baltimore American.)

(9) The "National Songster." (National Songster.)
(10) Key's Poems, publ. 1857. (Poems.)

The comparison is based on the Walters text, without esthetic com-
ment and taking the title of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for granted.
The words that differ are italicized. Differences in spelling and
interpunctuation are disregarded.

O say can you see by the dawn's early light

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes & bright stars through the perilous fight

O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there
O say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free & the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream
'Tis the star-spangled banner O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free & the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war & the battle's confusion
A home & a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution
No refuge could save the hireling & slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free & the home of the brave.

thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov'd home & the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry & peace may the heav'n rescued land

Praise the power that hath made & preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just.
And this be our motto "In God is our Trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free & the home of the brave.

"Stedman (E. C.). American Anthology. Boston, 1900. (5 variations.)
"While some of these alterations from the author's manuscript may seem unim-
portant, others actually change the meaning of the lines, as in the second stanza,
where Key wrote

" 'What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep
"As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?'

"The second line is perverted into

" 'As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?'

"In all except three of the reprints before noted this change occurs.

"It is for the worse, for two reasons:

"(1) It destroys the fine image of the wind flapping the flag so as to show and con-
ceal alternately parts of the stars and stripes; while the substitution makes the breeze
sometimes conceal the whole star-spangled banner.

"(2) The substitution is bad literary form, since it twice uses the word 'now,'
which the author has applied twice in the two lines immediately following."



38 The Star-Spangled Banner.

DIFFERENCES.

Ye: Cist.

By: Cist. Bright stars <k broad stripes: Cist.
Clouds of the: Cist; Pa. Hist. Soc.; Howard; Mahar.
Bombs: Broadside I and II; Baltimore Am.; Poems.
From: Broadside II.

That: Cist; Pa. Hist. Soc.; Howard: Poems; Now-now: Poema.
On: Cist; Mahar.

[Are the foes that: Pa. Hist. Soc.; Howard.
I Are the foes who: Poems.
I That Ilost that: Cist.
( The foe that: Mahar.
Sweepingly: Mahar.
This: Mahar.
His: Mahar.
And: Broadside II.
Foemen: Mahar.

Homes: Baltimore Am.; Cist; Pa. Hist. Soc.; Howard; Mahar.
War's: Mahar.
long may it: Broadside II.

Like other patriotic songs, "The Star-Spangled Banner" has had
its share of additional stanzas; that is, of verses suggested by the
changing times, the changing spirit of the tunes, and sectional an-
tagonism. On the other hand, at least one stanza often came to be
omitted. It is the third, undoubtedly expressive of bitter sentiment
against the English, as was natural and logical in 1814, but rather
unnatural and illogical after we were again the friends of England.


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