Stephen Foster Day at the Stephen Foster Memorial (1953)

Date: January 11, 1953

Source: S2043 , 00037

Type: Sound

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  • One reel to reel recording. Stephen Foster Day was usually 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.

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