Raised in and around Pittsburgh during the 19th century, Stephen Foster grew up singing in an all-male secret club and receiving some modest musical training from a local German immigrant, Henry Kleber. He soon became intensely interested in song-writing, and his first published song, “Open Thy Lattice Love”, appeared when he was 18. Of course, he went on to write around 285 songs, including such old chestnuts as “Beautiful Dreamer”, “Camptown Races”, and of course “Oh! Susanna”. The University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Library has digitized his sketchbook and placed it online for the general web-browsing public. Visitors can search the sketchbook by song title, or simply browse the pages at their leisure. There are a number of real finds here, including drafts of “While the Bowl Goes Round” and “Thou Art the Queen of My Song”.
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