Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

STUDY 2: Stephen Foster: Kentucky's Not-So Hometown Hero

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

It is often said that in Kentucky, people only know three composers; Mozart, Beethoven, and Stephen Foster. Stephen Foster was one of the most influential musicians in American popular music. Throughout his short career, he wrote 286 melodies that have lingered in the minds of many Kentuckians and earned himself a secure place in American musical history. Nowhere is Foster more beloved than in the rolling hills of Kentucky, due to his song "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night." This tune, that has been adapted as Kentucky's state song, is shrouded in mystery and folklore. Some stories suggested that this song was written by Foster on a trip to the Federal Hill estate in Bardstown, Kentucky; others believed that this song was written in response to Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" essays. This project explored a variety of common myths surrounding the background of this popular American song and – utilizing historical facts as well as pages from Stephen Foster's original sketch book - distinguished fact from fiction in the history behind "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night."

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STUDY 2: Stephen Foster: Kentucky's Not-So Hometown Hero

It is often said that in Kentucky, people only know three composers; Mozart, Beethoven, and Stephen Foster. Stephen Foster was one of the most influential musicians in American popular music. Throughout his short career, he wrote 286 melodies that have lingered in the minds of many Kentuckians and earned himself a secure place in American musical history. Nowhere is Foster more beloved than in the rolling hills of Kentucky, due to his song "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night." This tune, that has been adapted as Kentucky's state song, is shrouded in mystery and folklore. Some stories suggested that this song was written by Foster on a trip to the Federal Hill estate in Bardstown, Kentucky; others believed that this song was written in response to Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" essays. This project explored a variety of common myths surrounding the background of this popular American song and – utilizing historical facts as well as pages from Stephen Foster's original sketch book - distinguished fact from fiction in the history behind "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night."