Pyle, Howard. Songs We Love: The Star Spangled Banner. New York: Dodge Publishing Company, 1912. Presumed first edition. In original binding and presented with a custom archival clamshell case.
This is a charmingly decorated book containing the text of Francis Scott Key's patriotic poem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” The book features a full color frontispiece illustration by Howard Pyle of a dramatic war march, with flutist and drummer prominently displayed on the front line. Howard Pyle created both the cover design and frontispiece illustration for Key’s poetic text. Dodge Publishing Company published the book in 1912; Pyle’s frontispiece illustration was first published in 1903 by Collier’s Weekly.
Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was an American lawyer, author, and poet, most famously known for creating the poetic lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner.” Inspired by seeing the American flag flying proudly over Fort McHenry after a night of heavy bombardment from British ships, Key penned the initial verse of the song on the back of a letter in the early hours of September 14, 1814. Once he returned to Baltimore, he completed the four verses. When Key declared, “our flag was still there,” he fused the physical symbol of the nation with universal feelings of patriotism, courage, and resilience. By giving the flag a starring role in one of the most celebrated victories of the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key’s song established a new prominence for the flag as an expression of national identity, unity, and pride.
Key’s poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith, "To Anacreon in Heaven". By keeping the melody of “To Anacreon in Heaven” and replacing the lyrics with that of the poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, which was signed by President Herbert Hoover. A celebration of the beloved poem and song, the book was published almost 20 years prior to the adoption of the poem as the national anthem of the United States.
In very good condition. 12mo. In the original publisher's flexible wrappers with pictorial inlay, decorative titles, and a blue silk tie through the spine. Interior pages are healthy, with no signs of foxing or stains. Illustrated with a tipped in frontispiece, opposite the full title page.
Book is presented in a beautiful custom quarter leather red and blue cloth clamshell. The red spine features raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt embossed stars. The clamshell front features an inlay of “The Star Spangled Banner” music sheet. Clamshell is fully archival.
Dimensions: Book: 7 ¼” H x 5 ¾” W x ¼” D. Clamshell: 9 ¼” H x 7” W x 1 ½” D.