THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was a wealthy Georgetown, MD, lawyer with a penchant for poetry. He penned the four verses of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814, after being inspired by seeing the U.S. flag flying over Fort McHenry, MD, despite heavy night-time bombardment by the British. Key had the poem (then called "Defence of Fort McHenry") printed up as a broadside, with instructions for the words to be set to the English tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith. After publication in many newspapers, the song became a patriotic favorite, finding inclusion in most songbooks of the day. In 1889 the secretary of the navy ordered "The Star-Spangled Banner" to be played each morning as the flag was raised, and by the time of WWI, both the navy and the army used the song as an unofficial anthem. The song was given official status in 1916 by Executive Order of President Wilson, and was confirmed as the U.S. national anthem by Congress on March 3, 1931.
Tennessee Williams (1911-83)