Florida Memory is administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services, Bureau of Archives and Records Management. The digitized records on Florida Memory come from the collections of the State Archives of Florida and the special collections of the State Library of Florida.
Stephen Foster Day at the Stephen Foster Memorial (1952)
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864
Two reel to reel recordings. Stephen Foster Day was celebrated on 13 January, which was the day songwriter Foster died. Songwriter Stephen Foster wrote Old Folks at Home in 1851. In 1935, the Florida Legislature designated "Old Folks at Home" (often referred to as "Way Down Upon the Suwannee River") as Florida's state song. Over the next two decades, several Floridians began to push for a memorial to the song's composer, Stephen Collins Foster, considered by many to be the nation's first commercial songwriter. Finally, after the efforts of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs, the state opened the Stephen Foster Memorial, a 250-acre state-owned park, in White Springs, Florida in 1950, and would eventually comprise a bell tower, a Stephen Foster Museum, landscaped park grounds, and an annual Florida Folk Festival, along with other public programs. That same year, the state created the Stephen Foster Memorial Commission to administer the development and maintenance of the park.