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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 4 July 1826Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 13 January 1864New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameStephen Collins Foster

Spouse (1)

Jane Denny McDowell (July 1850 - 13 January 1864) (his death)

Trivia (8)

Pictured on the 1¢ US postage stamp (as Stephen Collins Foster) in the Famous American/Composers series, issued 3 May 1940.
It's perhaps appropriate that America's first great popular songwriter was born on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It was also on that day that two signers of that Declaration, as well as two of America's most revered Presidents, passed on: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
For all his success as a songwriter, Foster was, by at least one account, a man whose life was plagued by misfortune and unhappiness. When he died in early 1864, aged 37, probably of tuberculosis, it was in a third-rate hotel on the Bowery. Separated from his beloved wife and children, and long since lost in alcoholism, he died with only thirty-seven cents in his pocket and these words scribbled in a piece of paper, "dear hearts and gentle friends." Was it the beginning of a letter? The title of a new song? We will never know.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
His most famous song, "Camptown Races", was popularized by the character Foghorn Leghorn (voiced by Mel Blanc) in numerous Warner Brothers cartoons.
Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1940.
The Stephen Foster Handicap, name in honor of the composer of "My Old Kentucky Home", is a Thoroughbred horse race run annually since 1982 at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky.

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