Philadelphia, PA - Francis Scott Key, a young poet and lawyer, was aboard a small ship in the Patapsco River as he watched the British fleet relentlessly shell Ft. McHenry. The battle continued for hours, while an enormous American flag waved proudly atop the fort. Key kept vigil through the night, catching glimpses of the red, white, and blue as cannons boomed. Inspired by the fierce battle and filled with patriotic pride, Key wrote a four-stanza poem that captured the hearts of the American public and is beloved to this day.
Join HSP in celebrating Flag Day and the bicentennial of our national anthem with a document display highlighting our collection materials related to our nation’s flag, Francis Scott Key and “The Song Heard Round the World”.
HSP has in its collection a copy of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, penned and signed by Francis Scott Key in 1840. It is one of only three known copies of the song written and signed by Key. Displayed alongside this treasure will be three fragments of the original garrison flagflown atop Ft. McHenry, the flag that inspired Key. These red, white, and blue bits of wool bunting are graciously on loan from the Library Company of Philadelphia.
In addition to the on-site display, many materials will be digitized and available on HSP’s Digital Library.
Media are welcome to attend. For high-quality images suitable for publication or for more information about “Our Flag Was Still There”, please contact Vincent Fraley, Communications Manager, at 215-732-6200 ext. 233.
About the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1824, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest historical societies and one of the largest family history libraries in the nation. Following a complete merger with the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in 2002, HSP is also a leading repository of immigrant and ethnic history. It is second only to the Library of Congress for material on the nation’s founding and is one of the country’s most comprehensive centers for genealogical study. With approximately 21 million records including manuscripts, graphics, and books that span over 350 years of history, HSP is an invaluable resource for historical research.
HSP serves thousands of on-site visitors each year. It also offers a research-by-mail service and extensive online resources, including finding aids, digital collections, and curricular materials. HSP hosts educator workshops and public programs, and publishes a quarterly scholarly journal.