America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)

DESCRIPTION: A praise to the liberty and freedom offered in America. Throw in a brief description of the geography, a bit of praise for God, and a hint of ancestor worship, add the tune of "God Save the King," and you get America's other anthem
AUTHOR: Samuel Francis Smith
EARLIEST DATE: 1831 (first recorded performance, though Smith later thought he wrote it in 1832, when it was first published)
KEYWORDS: patriotic America nonballad religious derivative
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (8 citations):
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 6-9, "America, My Country 'Tis of Thee" (1 text, 1 tune, from an 1861 edition)
Lawrence, p. 262, "My Country! 'Tis Of Thee" (1 text, 1 tune, a reprint of an early copy)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 249-251, "God Save the King" (includes notes on "America")
Krythe 4, pp. 62-73, "America" (1 text, 1 tune)
DSB2, p. 53, "America" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #34, p. 3, "[America] My Country 'Tis of Thee" (10 references)
DT, AMERTIS*
ADDITIONAL: Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, _Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889_, R. R. Bowker, 1941, p. 46, lists early sheet music publications

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "God Save the King" (tune) and references there
SAME TUNE:
New National Anthem (Saffel-CowboyP, p. 221)
God Save America ("God save America Free from tyrranic sway Till time shall cease") (ThompsonNewYork, p. 338)
New National Hymn ("My native land I love," by "an American Widow, A. B. Clark") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 107)
Nassau! (by Thomas D. Suplee, [class of 18]70) ("Nassau! thy name we own, No nobler name be known, Ancient Nassau!) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 73)
Old Williams, 'Tis of Thee (by E. B. Parsons, [class of 18]59) ("Old Williams, 'tis of thee, Fountain of jollity") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 115)
Society Ode (by H. P. Tappan, [class of 18]25) (Brothers! We're here once more -- Not as in days of yore") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 136)
Once More We Meet ("Brothers! Once more we meet At Learning's chosen seat, Old College Hill") (by W. W. Howe, [class of 18]53) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 19)
Dear Kenyon ("Dear Kenyon, mother dear, We come to hail thee here") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 51)
The New Year ("Another year has gone, On time swift pinions flown, Its course it took") (by Jno. Love, Jr, [class of 18]68) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 68)
Oh, University! ("O, University, O, Freedom's pride! to thee Our song we raise") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 75)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
National Hymn
NOTES: According to Spaeth (A History of Popular Music in America, p. 69), S. F. Smith discovered the tune of "Heil Dir in Siegerkranz" in a book lent to him by Lowell Mason, and dashed off his words not knowing that "God Save the King" was to the same tune. Mason would direct the first public performance.
William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, pp. 144-145, says that Smith was to become "one of the outstanding Baptist preachers of the nineteenth century." Apparently he read German, which is why Mason lent him the book. The original German words began "Gott segne Sachsenland," i.e. "God save (the) Saxon land"
Smith, according to both Spaeth and Dicther/Shapiro, would later write, "If I had anticipated the future of it, doubtless I would have taken more pains with it."
John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1063, reports that it was "'Written in 1832, and first sung at a children's Fourth of Juy celebration in Park Street church, Boston.'" See also p. 1566 of Julian for some versions which are neither this nor "God Save the King."
Samuel Francis Smith, according to Julian, "was b[orn] in Boston, U. S. A., Oct. 21, 1808, and graduated in arts at Harvard, and in theology at Andover. He entered the Baptist ministry in 1832, and became the same year editor of the Baptist Missionary Magazine. He also contributed to the Encyclopedia Americana. From1 834 to 1842 he was pastor at Waterville, Mains, and Professor of Modern Languages in Waterville College. In 1832 he removed to Newton, Massachusetts, where he remained until 1854, when he became the editor of the publications of the Baptist Missionary Union. With Baron Stow he prepared the the Baptist collection known as The Psalmist, pub[lished] in 1843, to which he contributed several hymns.... Dr. Smith also pub[lished] Lyric Gems, 1854, Rock of Ages, 1870, &c." Julian goes on to list 32 of his hymns in "common use." - RBW
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File: RJ19006

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