- Shakespeare wrote the phrase “by spangled star-light sheen” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and “what Stars do Spangle heaven with such beauty?” (The Taming of the Shrew).
- Anyone with United States currency in his or her pocket or purse is carrying around a paraphrase of a line in the fourth verse of The Star-Spangled Banner, “In God is Our Trust,” parsed to In God We Trust and printed on coins since the Civil War and paper bills beginning in 1957.
- The words of To Anacreon in Heaven, the song that Francis Scott Key borrowed for the melody of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, is a sly 1700s paean to drinking and sex. Though understated, the line “I’ll instruct you, like me to entwine; The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine” is unambiguous.
- In one of the most incredible ironies in United States history, a slave-owning southerner whose entire family supported the Confederacy wrote the Union anthem (Francis Scott Key), while an anti-slavery Northerner (Daniel Decatur Emmett) wrote “Dixie,” the Southern anthem.
- Jimi Hendrix is hardly the first musician whose rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” anthem created a backlash: ragtime performers in the 1890s and jazz bands in the 1930s played idiosyncratic versions that also raised an uproar. In 1968, Aretha Franklin and Jose Feliciano delivered controversial, individualistic versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” almost a year before Jimi Hendrix performed his incendiary version at Woodstock.
Meet Marc Ferris and other JHU Press authors at a variety of activities during Baltimore's Star-Spangled Spectacular:
10 September 2014, 6:30 pm Book Talk & Signing - “The Battle of Baltimore: How Our Harbor Helped Define America” With Marc Ferris (Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem) Burt Kummerow (In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake) and Ralph Eshelman (IFGR and Travel Guide to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: A Reference Guide to Historic Sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia) National Aquarium Baltimore, MDThe Battle of Baltimore—which took place in September 1814, shortly after the British attack on Washington, D.C., and the torching of the Capitol and the White House—was an uplifting victory for beleaguered America. The success of Baltimore’s citizen soldiers hastened the war’s end and famously inspired Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As tall ships return to the Inner Harbor for Baltimore’s bicentennial celebrations, join us for a special program exploring the history and legacy of the Battle of Baltimore, featuring a panel of historians and authors whose recent work has focused on the War of 1812 and its impact on American identity. A reception and book signing precedes the program. This event is hosted by Aquarium CEO John Racanelli and is co-sponsored by JHU’s Odyssey Program, the Maryland Historical Society, and the National Aquarium’s Marjorie Lynn Bank Lecture Series. Book-signing at 6:30 p.m.; program at 7:00 p.m. Admission: $15.00; register online through JHU’s Odyssey Program (refer to session 918.088.91) or call 410-516-8516.
11 September 2014, 1:00 pm Author Interview - Marc Ferris Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America’s National Anthem Midday with Dan Rodricks WYPR, 88.1 FM
11 September 2014, 12:30 pm Book Talk & Signing - The Battle of Baltimore Ralph Eshelman In Full Glory Reflected and Travel Guide to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Johns Hopkins Club Baltimore, MD Admission: $20. Club members should call the Hopkins Club for reservations; non-members may contact Jack Holmes for information at 410-516-6928.
11 September 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 pm Book Signing - Marc Ferris Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America’s National Anthem Barnes & Noble The Power Plant 601 E. Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21202 410-385-1709
12–14 September 2014, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Book Sale at Star-Spangled Spectacular National Park Service Tent McKelden Square, Inner Harbor Baltimore, MD JHU Press will sell books related to the War of 1812 and host our authors for book signings in the National Park Service tent during the Star-Spangled Spectacular at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Join us at the NPS tent in McKelden Square (at Pratt and Light Streets) to celebrate the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”! Admission: Free. Visit Star-Spangled Spectacular for information.
12 September 2014, 4:00 – 6:00 pm Book Signing - Ralph Eshelman and Burt Kummerow In Full Glory Reflected and Travel Guide to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Barnes & Noble The Power Plant 601 E. Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21202 410-385-1709
13 September 2014, 9:15 am Author Interview - Marc Ferris Star-Spangled Banner Weekend News WBAL TV, Channel 11 13 September 2014, 6:00 pm Book Talk & Signing - Marc Ferris Star-Spangled Banner The Ivy Bookshop 6080 Falls Rd Baltimore, MD 21209 Book talk, performance, and signing by Marc Ferris at the Ivy during Baltimore’s Star-Spangled weekend! Admission: Free; call the Ivy at 410-377-2966 for information.