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1892 Samuel F. Smith Handwritten and Signed Lyrics to America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,320
Handwritten lyrics to the first stanza of the song America, signed and dated by the author, Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895). Both the lyrics and signature (“S. F. Smith”) have been scripted in black ink and grade “9.” Below his signature Smith has added the following notation “Written in 1832” and “March 25, 1892.” The first date denotes the year he wrote the piece, the second denotes the year in which the offered handwritten lyrics were written. The song, which Smith titled America, but which we better know today as My Country 'Tis of Thee, was first performed in public by Boston school children as part of the city’s 1831 Fourth of July celebration. However, its first publication was in 1832, which is probably why Smith refers to that date here as its year of origin. For the song, Smith combined his lyrics with the British tune God Save the King. The song America has not waned in popularity since that time and is still one that is sung by nearly all grade-school children today. Smith, who was a Baptist minister, often provided fans and friends with handwritten copies of his song (sometimes just a few verses, other times the entire song) all of which he signed and dated in the manner seen here. The sheet (4.25 x 6.5 inches; on thick paper stock) displays light toning and is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA.. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $1,320
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