Stephen Foster was born in 1826 in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, now a neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and died in New York City in 1864. As a professional songwriter, he composed hundreds of songs, many of which are so well-known that some people consider them folk songs. But "Old Folks at Home," "Oh Susannah," "My Old Kentucky Home" and so many more all came from the pen of Foster and remain familiar around the world.
The Carnegie Library has books and DVDs about Foster and a number of CDs of his music, some of which are listed below. If you are a musician, you might want to check out our music scores. The Internet is also chock full of useful sites and some of those are also listed below.
The Doo-Dah Days: Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival in Lawrenceville has become an annual event in July here in Pittsburgh.
If you'd like to listen to many of Stephen Fosters songs online by various artists, go to our Stephen Foster Playlist at American Song, and log in with your library barcode number. You can choose to play the whole playlist or individual tracks.
Selected Resources at the
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture
ML 410 .F78 E46 1997
This book is a biography of Foster and begins with a background of his family in Pittsburgh. "Although his songs celebrated the rural South, he scarcely set foot there, spending most of his life in Pittsburgh, the smoky cradle of America's industrial revolution."
DVD ML 410 .F78 S835 2006x
This documentary film, from the PBS "American Experience" series and inspired by Ken Emerson's Doo-Dah! (above), recounts the life story of Stephen Foster, explores the impact of Foster's music on American popular culture, and examines the treatment of African Americans in Foster's songs. There is a companion website with a teacher's guide and additional information.
Foster for Brass
Compact Disc Bd Che 22341
Nineteenth Century Brass Band Music based on the Songs of Stephen Foster
Selected Internet Resources
Center for American Music: Stephen Collins Foster
The Center for American Music at the University of Pittsburgh is the principal repository for materials pertaining to Stephen Collins Foster. Its website includes a biography, a list of Foster's complete works including complete lyrics, and a digital version of an 1851 sketchbook.
Pictorial Biography of Stephen Collins Foster
The photos and articles in this website are directly based on an article in the Musical Courier: "Pictorial Biography of Stephen Collins Foster", 1930.
- YouTube Videos
- Muriel Anderson
plays "Angelina Baker"
Incorporating banjo techniques, guitarist Muriel Anderson, with bassist and drummer, plays "Angelina Baker" on Woodsongs Show #297.
- Muriel Anderson plays "Angelina Baker"