America's First Songwriter

Stephen Foster was a songwriter. He wrote some of the country's most memorable melodies. Even though his songs were written almost two hundred years ago, songs of Foster's, like "Camptown Races" and "Oh! Susanna," are still sung today. In fact, a disc of Stephen Foster songs won a Grammy music award in 2005. Two of Foster's songs became official state songs - "My Old Kentucky Home" for Kentucky and "Old Folks at Home", known also as "Suwannee River", for Florida.

Foster was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1826. He was part of a large family that had plenty of hard times. Foster was sent to several private schools, and at Athens Academy, Foster wrote his first song at the age of fourteen. That song, "Tioga Waltz," was played at the school's graduation.

Foster went on to college but left early. He went to Ohio to work as a bookkeeper at his brother's steamship company. While he was in Cincinnati, he wrote many successful songs, including "Oh! Susanna."

. . . Print Entire Reading Comprehension with Questions