Stephen Foster lived a short life, but attained credits such as “America’s First Composer” and “The Father of American Music”. Some information suggests that he was a self taught musician, but there is evidence that he studied music formally. He was born in Lawrenceville, Pennnsylvania on July 4, 1826. Stephen was the youngest of eleven children.
He was a home-body and did his grammar school studies privately at home where his musical genius began to show itself. The family had house concerts, where he premiered Oh! Susanna. Prior to that, though, his first song was “Open Thy Lattice Love”.
Around 1846 he moved to Cincinnati to work as a bookkeeper for his brother’s Steamboat Agency. The culture in that city was compelling for Stephen, and he began writing music full time.
His life was not easy, and there are many myths about him, which you can explore here: Stephen Foster Myths: https://sites.pitt.edu/~amerimus/Fostermyths.htm. One thing I had always been told was that he did not receive proper remuneration for his works. According to the above website, in Foster’s life-time copyright law did not protect composers’ own interests. Case in point, his collections are available on IMSLP.
You can read more about him on wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Foster
He wrote words and music to some 200 songs and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. See:https://www.songhall.org/profile/Stephen_Foster
His songs were beautiful and sentimental. To just name a few, Slumber My Darling from Kim Robertson’s “Shady Grove” (https://folkharp.com/product/shady-grove-companion-book/) is a gorgeous 3-page arrangement. Louise Trotter’s “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” is arranged in a very “Louise” style and is so pretty. https://folkharp.com/product/stephen-foster-favorites-trotter/
Angi Bemiss has a straightforward arrangement of Beautiful Dreamer https://folkharp.com/product/beautiful-dreamer-bemiss/ and Frank Voltz has a duet arrangement of Camptown Races https://folkharp.com/product/camptown-races-voltz/
There are seventeen choices in our “Stephen Foster” category here https://folkharp.com/product-category/stephen-foster/ and with the coupon code foster receive 10% off that category from July 3 – July 23.