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Selected Poetry of Stephen C. Foster (1826-1864)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

I'm coming, I'm coming, for my head is bending low:
I hear those gentle voices calling, "Old Black Joe."
        (Old Black Joe, 5-6)
  1. Beautiful Dreamer Serenade
  2. Gwine to Run All Night, or De Camptown Races
  3. VII Mon. September [1742] hath xxx days.
  4. Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
  5. My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!
  6. Oh! Susanna
  7. Old Black Joe
  8. Old Folks at Home


Notes on Life and Works

Stephen Foster was born July 4, 1826, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Allegheny Academy, Athens Academy, and Jefferson College. He became a full-time musician in 1850, working for and with Christy's Minstrels, Campbell Minstrels, and the New Orleans Serenaders. His songs made him famous with the public. Married to Jane Denny McDowell, and with one daughter, Foster moved to New York City in 1860, but he soon succumbed to alcoholism and poverty, living alone in a Bowery hotel. He died on January 13, 1864, in Bellevue Hospital from injuries to his face and neck as a result of a fall in his hotel room. The standard scholarly edition of his works is Music of Stephen Collins Foster (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, ca. 1990; score. M780.M81 F59S134 Music Library). For a biography, see John Tasker Howard, Stephen Foster, America's Troubadour (New York: Crowell, 1962; ML 410 .F78H6 Robarts Library). See also Calvin Elliker, Stephen Collins Foster: A Guide to Research (New York: Garland, 1988; ML 134 F6E4 Music Library General Reference).

Biographical information

Given name: Stephen C.
Family name: Foster
Birth date: 4 July 1826
Death date: 13 January 1864
Nationality: American