This lesson focuses on "The Star-Spangled Banner" and its author, Francis Scott Key. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the few institutions to house a copy of the poem signed by Francis Scott Key. This poem captures the events of September 1814, when the British unsuccessfully attacked Baltimore Harbor. Fort McHenry at the center of the harbor was under siege for over twenty-four hours but did not fall to the British. Francis Scott Key’s poem, later put to music, describes the attack and the American Flag that survived the bombing.
Originally titled "The Defense of Fort McHenry," this poem was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. The poem was later set to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner." President Hoover signed a congressional resolution to officially name it the National Anthem in 1931.