Frances Scott Key

A picture of the author Frances Scott Key

Frances Scott Key (1779 - 1843) was an amateur poet, American lawyer, and author, best known for writing the poem originally titled, The Defence of Fort McHenry. John Stafford Smith composed the musical score, in what became officially recognized as the United States' national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Key witnessed the day-long British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland during the War of 1812. His inspiring poem was first published in 1813. It took a while to become official: The U.S. Navy adopted the anthem in 1889, President Woodrow Wilson recognized it in 1916, but it wasn't until 1931 that the U.S. Congress declared it the country's national anthem and President Herbert Hoover signed the resolution on March 3, 1931.

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