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A Pictorial Bibliography of the First Editions of Stephen C. Foster is a bibliography of all first edition cover title page reproductions for Foster’s 204 musical works within his music collection at the Library of Congress. Published by Musical Americana, Philadelphia, 1957.

Stephen Collins Foster was born on July 4, 1826 in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania to William Barclay Foster and Eliza Clayland Tomlinson Foster. His father had purchased a piano a few years before he was born and when Foster received private tutoring from local school teachers, from whom he informally learned about music, the combination instigated his passion for song-writing. When Foster became a teenager, his early music was inspired by the Irish composer Thomas Moore and from early minstrel shows traveling through Lawrenceville. In 1841, Foster began studying at the Jefferson College at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. After one month, he dropped out, and began publishing his music, mostly for minstrel shows. By 1849, Foster had moved to Cincinnati and entered into a publishing partnership with a New York company called Firth, Pond & Company. In 1851, he married Jane McDowell, but the couple separated several years later. By 1860, Foster was prolific in publishing music, and when the Civil War began, began publishing war songs. In early January of 1864, Foster grew ill and collapsed onto the bathroom floor where he sustained serious injuries to his neck and face. On January 13th, he died from his wounds.

Publication Date



Performing Arts, Social Life and Customs

Size of Collection

0.3 linear feet

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number

SpC MS 347

Foster, Stephen C., Collection, 1957



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