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Francis Scott Key


Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 - January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer and amateur poet. He is buried in Frederick, Maryland and is an alumnus of St. John's College, Annapolis.

During the War of 1812, Key was detained on a British ship during the battle for Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland harbor. Upon seeing the US flag still flying at dawn, he was inspired to write a poem celebrating the American victory. His poem, 'The Defence of Fort M'Henry', was later added to the existing music "Anacreon in Heaven" by the English composer John Stafford Smith, but the combination came to be known simply as The Star-Spangled Banner. Under this name, the song was adopted as the American national anthem in 1931.

Key was a collateral ancestor of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Last updated: 11-07-2004 13:46:16