Date of Birth: July 4, 1826
Date of Death: January 13, 1864
Period/Era/Style: Romantic Era; Influences of Folk, Parlor and Minstrel music
Stephen Foster born on the 4th of July, known as “the father of American music”, was an American songwriter known primarily for his parlor and minstrel music. Foster wrote over 200 songs; among his best-known are “Oh! Susanna”, “Hard Times Come Again No More”, “Camptown Races”, “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”), “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”, “Old Black Joe”, and “Beautiful Dreamer”. Many of his compositions remain popular more than 150 years after he wrote them. His compositions are thought to be autobiographical. He has been identified as “the most famous songwriter of the nineteenth century” and may be the most recognizable American composer in other countries. His compositions are sometimes referred to as “childhood songs” because they have been included in the music curriculum of early education. Most of his handwritten music manuscripts are lost, but copies printed by publishers of his day can be found in various collections.
Life: Biography | Early years | Career | Death | Critics and controversies | Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum | Legacy | Musical influence | Television | Film | Other events | Art | Memorials