ISBN is

978-1-58415-213-2 / 1584152133

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About the book:

Stephen Foster was a musical genius born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and into the wrong family. The middle of the 19th Century was an era of development, of conquering the land and building canals and railroads. The men who were admired were the engineers and builders, the developers and inventors, not artists and composers.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cincinnati, Ohio where Stephen grew up and spent his early years were rough river towns. Fortunes were made and lost transporting goods on the rivers. The Foster family was originally successful, but by the time Stephen was born on the 4th of July 1826, they were losing their land and their home.

The years of Stephen's childhood were spent in cheap boarding houses or living with relatives. Little attention was given to the quiet, dreamy boy who wanted only to wander with his flute down along the levee. There he listened to the music of the African Americans who worked on the riverboats.

Stephen's father considered his interest in music to be a bad habit. Stephen persisted in writing songsthe best-loved and most famous songs in America. But he wrote his songs before the days when copyright laws protected songwriters. If he had written his music today"Oh! Susanna," "My Old Kentucky Home," "Camptown Races," "Old Black Joe," "Way Down Upon the Swanee River" he would be a millionaire many times over. When Stephen Foster died in poverty in New York in 1864, he was not completely penniless. He had 38 cents in his pocket, one penny for each year he lived.

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