First and Only Weekly Webzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ 15,000 Web Pages in Archive
Over 1,200 Volumes
Collected From 1875 Through 1950
The surviving editions are held in trust in the archive of grandson Danton Burroughs
Collated and Researched by Bill Hillman
Shelf: F3
Brandon Fleming
The Crooked House ~ 1921 ~  NY: E.J.Clode 
A facsinating and difficult mystery, never got the acclaim it deserved
eText Editions: Open Library  |  Many Books
The Ruby in Weird Tales, January 1933 (an OAK Buccaneers of Venus  issue)
J. S. Fletcher 1863-1935
The Secret Way 1903


In the Days of Drake:1897 ~ being the Adventures of Humphrey Salkeld, how he was kidnapped and carried away to Mexico; How he there underwent many torments at the hands of the Inquisitors: And finally how he fell in with the great captain, pirate and privateer, Sir Francis Drake.  Chicago, Rand McNally 
Online eText Editions:
The Middle Temple Murder
The Middle of Things
The Orange-Yellow Diamond 1921
The Paradise Mystery
The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation
Scarhaven Keep
The Talleyrand Maxim
Kampf um das Erbe (later foreign edition)
Biblio of 123 titles
Joseph Smith Fletcher was a journalist who was leader-writer on several newspapers before he became an author. His early  books were about history but he soon turned to crime fiction.

Handwriting and Signature

James W. Foley
Sing a Song of Sleepy Head (x2)
The Mellow Year (x2)
Some One Like You 1915 1st Edition by James W Foley.
"The Verses of James W. Foley - Book of Boys and Girls" 1905 ~  230 pages R. D. Hoskins, Bismarck, ND
Mrs. Foley
Poem: A Dropped Pebble
Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You've disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you've started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute you forget;
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you've stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy ere you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
 Till you wouldn't believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there's gladness still a-swelling, and there's joy circling yet,
And you've rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.

John Taintor Foote 1881-1950
Pocono Shot

Later edition:
"Dumb-Bell of Brookfield," "Pococno Shot," "Trub's Diary," "Allegheny,"  "Jing," "Dog Upon the Waters," and "The White Grouse" rank with the best and most memorable stories ever written about dogs. Tightly plotted and filled with wit, warmth, and shrewd perception, they record unforgettable portraits of relationships between dog and man with rare insight. No one who loves dogs or great writing about them will fail to find huge pleasure in these great classics. These tales of gallant gun dogs will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to cheer the taleny of their creator, John Taintor Foote.
A Wedding Gift: And Other Angling Stories
The Look of Eagles 1928
The Mark of Zorro(1940) screenwriter
Swanee River (1939) screenwriter
Convoy 1917 Based on the novel The Song of the Dragon by John Taintor Foote (New York, 1923).
Extract: A Change of Idols

Paul Leicester Ford 1865-1902
Janice Meredith: A Story Of The American Revolution 1900 ~ Dodd, Mead & Co ~ 536 pages ~ A novel that draws on Ford's extensive historical knowledge. This novel proved to be Ford's greatest literary success. Although the critics attacked the novel's faulty construction, lack of style, and contrived action, the reading public adored it. Within the first three months, over 200,000 copies sold, which was the largest on record of any novel then published. Within two years of its publication, it was dramatized and, early in the twentieth century, it was even made into a motion picture. The novel was a culmination of Ford's diverse skills. This historical romance, set before and during the time of the Revolutionary War, narrates the struggle of the colonies to gain their freedom and the struggle of the hero, Jack Brereton, to win the heroine, Janice Meredith. One enthusiastic critic went so far as to declare that this novel was "the great New Jersey novel, if not the great American novel." For the public's part, a new dance was coined the "Janice Meredith Waltz," and a new hairstyle was labeled the "Meredith curl." All in all, most critics agreed that Janice Meredith was proof of Ford's improved skill as a novelist.

Love Finds the Way: 1904 ~ Dodd, Mead & Co. ~  Illustrations by Harrison Fisher, Decorations by  Margaret Armstrong ~ highly illustrated  and decorated book with Victorian illustrations and Art Deco or Art Nouvou Decorations.
The Great K & A Train Robbery 1897  Dodd, Mead and Co
Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States: Published during Its Discussion by the People, 1787-1788:
Writings of Christopher Columbus: Descriptive of the Discovery and Occupation of the New World. C.L. Webster and Co., 1892.
Wanted a Chaperon. 1902: Dodd Mead 1902

Wanted a ChaperoneWanted a Chaperone

Paul Leicester Ford (1865-1902) was the consummate bookman of the late nineteenth century. During his brief life, he successfully contributed to the world of letters through printing, bibliography, editing, scholarship, and fiction. This exhibit represents part of a gift recently made to the University by Mrs. William R. Bailey of Camden in memory of her husband, William R. Bailey. Bailey was the grandson of Rosalie Ford Barr, one of Paul Ford's older sisters. Mrs. Barr was close to Ford throughout his life; she also provided him with his only formal schooling. Later in his life, she furnished him with a much needed retreat to complete one of his best-sellers. The collection contains almost forty books and pamphlets pertaining to Ford, including inscriptions, photos, and letters, and additional material by Noah Webster, Ford's great-grandfather, Emily E. Ford, his mother, Worthington C. Ford, his brother, and other authors.

E. M. Forster (1879 - 1970)
A Passage to India ~ 1924 
Reprint editionIn Forster's beautifully written novel about British India at the turn of the century, a simple misunderstanding erupts into hostility. The plot centers on Aziz, a young doctor who is initially tolerant of the British presence in India. However, when he takes a group of Americans to the Caves of Marabar and an American woman accuses him of raping her, his attitude changes. Imprisoned and then released when the woman recants, Aziz becomes thoroughly disillusioned and a proponent of a Hindi-Muslim alliance against the British.
Online eText Editions by Forster:
Edward Morgan Forster was born in London as the only child of an architect, who died before Edward was two years old. Forster's childhood and much of his adult life was dominated by his mother and his aunts. The legacy of his paternal great-aunt Marianne Thornton, descendant of the Clapham Sect of evangelists and reformers, gave later Forster the freedom to travel and to write. Forster's years at Tonbridge School as a teenager were difficult - he suffered from the cruelty of his classmates. 

Forster attended King's College, Cambridge (1897-1901), where he met members of the later-formed Bloomsbury group. In the atmosphere of skepticism, he became under the influence of Sir James Frazer, Nathaniel Wedd, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, and G.E. Moore, and shed his not-very-deep Christian faith. After graduating, Forster traveled in Italy and Greece with his mother and on his return began to write essays and short stories for the liberal Independent Review. In 1905 Foster spent several months in German as tutor to the children of the Countess von Armin. 

In the same year appeared his first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread. In the following year he lectured on Italian art and history for the Cambridge Local Lectures Board. In 1907 appeared The Longest Journey, then A Room with a View (1908), based partly on the material from extended holidays in Italy with his mother. The first part of the novel is set in Florence, where the young Lucy Honeychurch is visiting her older cousin, Charlotte Bartless. Download the easiest screen capture (print screen) program. Free trial Lucy witnesses a murder and becomes caught between two men: shallow, conventional Cecil Vyse and George Emerson, who kisses Lucy during a picnic. The second half of the novel takes place at Windy Corner, Lucy's home on Summer Street. She accepts a marriage proposal from Cecil. The Emersons become friends of the Honeychurches after George, Mr. Beebe (who is a clergyman), and Freddie (Lucy's brother) are discovered bathing nude in the woods. Finally, Lucy overcomes prejudices and marries George. Forster also wrote during the pre-war years a number of short stories, which were collected in The Celestial Omnibus (1914). Most of them were symbolic fantasies or fables. 

Howards End (1910) was a story that centered on an English country house and dealt with the clash between two families, one interested in art and literature, the other only in business. The book brought together the themes of money, business and culture. "To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it." (from Howards End) 

The novel established Forster's reputation, and he embarked upon a new novel with a homosexual theme, Maurice. The picture of British attitudes not long after Wilde was revised several times during his life and finally published posthumously in 1971. Forster hid his personal life from public discussion. In 1930 he had a relationship with a London policeman. This important contact continued after the marriage of his London friend. 

Between the years 1912 and 1913 Forster traveled in India. From 1914 to 1915 he worked for the National Gallery in London. Following the outbreak of World War I, Forster joined the Red Cross and served in Alexandria, Egypt. There he met the Greek poet C.P. Cavafy and published a selection of his poems in Pharos and Pharillon (1923). In 1921 Forster returned to India, working as a private secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas. The land was the scene of his masterwork, A Passage to India (1924), an account of India under British rule. It was Forster's last novel. 

For the remaining forty-six years of his life, Forster devoted himself to other activities. Writing novels was not the most important element in his life. In the book he wrote: "Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend." 
Online eTexts: 
Howards End:
A Room With A View:

General George A. Forsyth 
Thrilling Days in Army Life ~ 1900 ~ Describes one of the classic encounters between Indians and the frontier army known to history as the Battle of Beecher Island.  ~ Cited by ERB as reference material for his Apache novels

Later Edition ~ Bison Books
General George A. Forsyth 
Thrilling Days in Army Life describes one of the classic encounters between Indians and the frontier army. In the summer of 1868 George A. Forsyth led fifty scouts to search out Cheyennes who were raiding Kansas. In this book, he relates the six-day siege in september that pitted his small force against 750 Cheyennes and Sioux. Because the battle occurred in a dry bed of the Arickaree Fork of the Republican River in western Colorado and claimed the life of Forsyth's brave lieutenant, Frederick Beecher, it would be known to history as the Battle of Beecher Island. Forsyth, who was breveted brigadier general for the 1868 battle, had an action-packed career. In 1882, as commander of the Fourth Cavalry in New Mexico, he pursued the Chiricahua Apaches across the border into Mexico. It was a raid full of dangerous traps, but he lived to tell about it. Originally published in 1900, Thrilling Days in Army Life will be of interest to both frontier and Civil War buffs. Forsyth was an aid to Major General Philip H. Sheridan in 1864 and accompanied him on the dramatic ride to the rescue of Union troops at Cedar Creek. That episode is presented in a rush of detail. Forsyth ends with an eyewitness account of the surrender of the Confederacy at Appomattox Court House. Of special interest to readers will be the many drawings by Rufus Zogbaum, a leading military artist of his day. Introducing this Bison Book edition of Thrilling Days in Army Life is David Dixon, an assistant professor of history at Slippery Rock University and the author of Hero of Beecher Island: The Life and Military Career of George A. Forsyth, also available from the University of Nebraska Press. 

Edna A. Foster  Something to Do Girls
Harry L. Foster
A Beachcomber in the Orient ~ 1925 ~ NY: Blue Ribbon Books or  London, John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1923  395 pages 43 illos on plates.
The Adventures of a Tropical Tramp:  At the end of WW1, former New York journalist Harry Foster began a decade long trek around the most exotic regions of the world. The Adventures of a Tropical Tramp chronicles his adventures as a miner, news reporter, war correspondent, diplomatic attache and part-time piano player from South America's Pacific Coast to the mountainous Andes of Peru to the unexplored jungles of Bolivia and down jungle rivers until he reaches the Amazon.
The Adventures of a Tropical Tramp is the first travel narrative written by Harry La Tourette Foster, a veteran of World War One who really couldn't "go back down on the farm" after he had seen Parie. Gripped by a impulse to adventure, Foster spent most of his life after the war wandering the main roads and back roads of the world, first in Mexico and South America, then later in Asia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. This first book, however, is a splendid narrative of an average man turned adventurer. The plucky and resourceful Foster finds himself a shoe clerk in Panama after working his way through Mexico following his discharge from the army. But clerking is much too tame for Foster. Taking his last few pesos, he books "steerage" on a tramp steamer bound for Peru, and lands there with but two pennies in his pocket. Taken under the wing of a "tropical tramp," one of a breed of men that wandered the tropics in search of fortune and work in the aftermath of the war, Foster learns to support himself by taking odd jobs, first as a mining clerk in the high Andes, then as reporter for a Lima paper which gives him access to much of the interesting life of the region. Subsequently, he fills his time as war correspondent "without a war," and then diplomatic attache, a position that brings him into contact with the highest--and lowest--of ex-patriot society. Finally bored, he joins two missionaries and helps them trek overland to the headwaters of the Amazon, and then joins them on an adventure-filled journey down the tributaries to the Amazon itself. Finding himself penniless again in a dilapidated outpost of colonialism, he takes a step that becomes a trademark of his travels--playing ragtime piano in the sleaziest of bars until he earns his passage home to New York. Foster's observations understate his resiliance and courage. His prose flows easily between stories of the characters he meets and descriptions of the places where he works or visits. If you want a window into the reality and excitement of true adventure during the early part of the 20th Century, this is the book to start with.
Harry La Tourette Foster was born in Brooklyn in Oct. 31, 1894, the son of Alonzo Foster and Mary Emily La Tourette. He went to prep school at the Newton Academy in New Jersey, and then attended Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. While still in college, though, he joined the 1st R.O.T.C. at the Madison Barracks in New York (1917), and after graduation was commissioned as a 2nd Lt., infantry, and sent to serve with the 78th Division in France. Foster's level head and courage quickly got him promoted to 1st Lieutenant, and he became an instructor in modern warfare. His last posting took him to the Mexican border in 1918 to serve with the the 25th U.S. Infantry. When he was discharged in 1919, he worked his way down through Mexico and Central America until he reached Panama. From there he worked his way through parts of South America, detailing his travels and exploits in The Adventures of a Tropical Tramp For the next decade, Foster stayed on the go despite catching malaria while he was traveling in Asia. He was prolific, publishing regular magazine and newspaper articles as well as book after book of adventure travel, including A Beachcomber in the Orient (1923); A Gringo in Manana-Land (1924); and A Tropical Tramp with the Tourists (1925).In between his frequent trips, Foster would return to New York for a few weeks or a few months, and it was on one of these longer stays in 1925-1926 that he co-authored his only theater drama, Savages Under the Skin produced in 1927. During that extended stay, he also edited a guidebook to South America. But "wanderlust" always seemed to grip Foster as these visits lengthened, and he was soon off again to new tropical venues, producing A Vagabond in Fiji in 1927; Combing the Caribbees (1929); and A Vagabond in the Barbary (1930).Although his books are written with almost a moralistic tone, there is no doubt that Harry Foster was an expert on the red light districts of every country he visited, often working in dives as a piano player (a skill he apparently learned at Newton) and that he may have taken the dictum of "work hard, play harder" as his personal goal. What shouldn't be overlooked, however, is the incomparable picture of everyday people in a post-war world that Foster's travelogues present. Although he allows little of his own character to be available to the reader, he paints generous and interesting portraits of the people he meets and the places he visits. The life of hard travel caught up with Harry Foster, though, and he died, unmarried, at just age 36. In those 36 years, however, he logged enough adventure for three lifetimes.

Stephen Collins Foster 1826 - 1864
My Old Kentucky Home 1853

1883 instrumental edition of My Old Kentucky Home ~ Home inspiration ~ Original notebook

My Old Kentucky Home
Stephen Collins Foster ~ 1853

Verse 1:
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home
'tis summer, the darkies are gay,
the corn top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom
while the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor
all merry, all happy, and bright.
By'n by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,
then my old Kentucky home, good night.

Weep no more, my lady,
oh weep no more today.
We will sing on song for the old Kentucky home,
for the old Kentucky home far away.

Verse 2:
They hunt no more for the 'possum and the coon
on meadow, the hill, and the shore.
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon
on the bench by that old cabin door.
The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart
with sorrow where all was delight.
The time has come when the darkies have to part
then my old Kentucky home, good night.

Verse 3:
The head must bow and the back will have to bend
wherever the darky may go.
A few more days and the trouble all will end
in the field where sugar-canes may grow.
A few more days for to tote the weary load,
no matter, 'twill never be light.
A few more days 'till we totter on the road,
then my old Kentucky home, good night.

Kentucky adopted "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night" as its state song in 1928. The phrase "the darkies are gay" has since been replaced with "the people are gay." The inspiration for the song may have been Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1851. Foster's first draft in his song workbook is entitled "Poor Uncle Tome, Good Night."

From a painting by the noted artist Howard Chandler Christy at the Stephen Foster Memorial on the Suwannee River, Florida. A Curteich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone Post Card. This painting of Stephen Foster is housed in the museum at White Springs, Florida. It was painted in 1947-48 by commission of the State of Florida as lasting tribute to the songs of Americans greatest composer.
The Music of Stephen Collins Foster

Stephen Collins Foster, the ninth of William B. and Eliza T. Foster's ten children (plus a son fathered by William before the marriage and later raised as their oldest child), was born July 4, 1826, in a white cottage high on the hillside above the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville, east of Pittsburgh.  The tenth child died as an infant, leaving Stephen as the "baby" of the family to be indulged by older brothers and sisters.  Foster's life has become part of American legend.  One thread of the tale is that he detested school and so was poorly educated.  In truth, as a young boy Stephen evinced more interest in music than in other subjects.  But as the child of a middle-class family in an era before tax-supported public education, he variously was privately tutored, then schooled at private academies in Pittsburgh and in north-central Pennsylvania.  He expressed a distaste for rote learning and recitation, but was an avid reader and eventually became a literate, well-educated person by the standards of his day. He was musically literate as well;  he probably received some formal musical training from a German immigrant, Henry Kleber, an accomplished and versatile musician who eventually exerted a major influence on Pittsburgh's musical life as a performer, composer, music merchant, impresario, and teacher. At age 20, Stephen went to work as a bookkeeper for his brother Dunning's steamship firm in Cincinnati.  There he also sold some of his songs and piano pieces to a local music publisher and had his first big hit with "Oh!  Susanna."  In 1850, already with 12 compositions in print, the 24-year-old Stephen returned to Pittsburgh, married 20-year-old Jane Denny MacDowell, and launched his career as a professional songwriter.  Their daughter Marion was born the following year.  In 1852 the couple took a delayed honeymoon, a month-long steamship ride to New Orleans with friends, the only trip Stephen ever made to the deep south (he had visited Ohio River towns in Kentucky as a child).  In 1853, he went to New York to be near his publishers;  Jane joined him in Hoboken, N.J., sometime in 1854.  They returned to Pittsburgh later that year, living first in the family home and then a series of boarding houses after both of his parents died in 1855.  Another thread in the mythic fabric is that Foster dashed off perfect masterpieces in a flash of inspiration, songs expressing the sentiment of American ante-bellum South.  Yet, aside from these absences, visits to the family in Ohio, and until he went to New York for good in 1860, Stephen spent much of his life in Pittsburgh where he worked consistently at his songwriting, keeping a thick sketchbook to draft ideas for song lyrics and melodies.  As a professional songwriter of unparalleled skill and technique--not an untutored musical genius--he had made it his business to study the various music and poetic styles circulating in the immigrant populations of the new United States.  His intention was to write the people's music, using images and a musical vocabulary that would be widely understood by all groups.  Foster worked very hard at writing, sometimes taking several months to craft and polish the words, melody, and accompaniment of a song before sending it off to a publisher.  His sketchbook shows that he often labored over the smallest details, the right prepositions, even where to include or remove a comma from his lyrics. Rather than writing nostalgically for an old South (it was, after all, the present day for him), or trivializing the hardships of slavery, Foster sought to humanize the characters in his songs, to have them care for one another, and to convey a sense that all people--regardless of their ethnic identities or social and economic class--share the same longings and needs for family and home.  He instructed white performers of his songs not to mock slaves but to get their audiences to feel compassion for them.  In his own words, he sought to "build up taste...among refined people by making words suitable to their taste, instead of the trashy and really offensive words which belong to some songs of that order."  Stephen Foster was a man with a mission, to reform black-face minstrelsy, then the most pervasive and powerful force in American popular culture Though another thread of the myth romantically portrays Stephen Foster as such a pure artist that he had no business sense and squandered all his wealth, in fact he kept his own account books, documenting down to the penny how much his publishers paid him for each song, and he calculated his probable future earnings on each piece.  His contracts were written out in his own hand;  they are the earliest ones we know of between American music publishers and individual songwriters. In reality, Foster was not an idle street musician without direction in his life, he was a pioneer.  There was no music business as we know it (sound recording was not invented until 13 years after his death;  radio, 66 years); no system of publishers and agents vying to sell new songs; no "performing rights" fees from restaurant singers or minstrels or theater musicians or concert recitalists;  no way of earning money except through a 5-to-10 percent royalty on sheet music sales of his own editions by his original publisher, or though the outright purchase of a song by a publisher.  There was no way to know whether or not he was being paid for all the copies his publisher sold;  there were no attorneys specializing in authors' rights.  Copyright law protected far less than it does today:  Foster earned nothing for other arrangers' settings of his songs, broadside printings of his lyrics, or for other publishers' editions of his music.  In today's music industry he would be worth millions of dollars a year;  on January 13, 1864, he died at age 37 with 38 cents in his pocket and a penciled scrap of paper that read, "dear friends and gentle hearts."  His brother Henry described the accident in the New York theater-district hotel that led to his death:  confined to bed for days by a persistent fever, Stephen tried to call a chambermaid, but collapsed, falling against the washbasin next to his bed and shattering it, which gouged his head.  It took three hours to get him to the hospital, and in that era before transfusions and antibiotics, he succumbed after three days.
Professional Career
While still an amateur songwriter, Foster realized that the minstrel stage was the key to securing an audience for his songs.  At first, he circulated manuscript copies among various minstrel troupes.  After "Oh!  Susanna"  became a national hit following its performance by the Christy Minstrels in 1848, the song was widely pirated by more than two-dozen music publishing firms, who earned tens of thousands of dollars from sheet music sales. But Foster received a mere $100 from a single firm in Cincinnati.  In that regard, "Oh!  Susanna" was a financial failure for Foster, but he learned two valuable lessons:  one, his potential to earn significant sums from songwriting and, two, the need to protect his artistic property.  During 1848 and 1849, eight more of his minstrel songs were published, including "Uncle Ned," and "Nelly Was a Lady."  Determined to make a full-time career of writing songs, Foster left his bookkeeping job in Cincinnati and returned to Pittsburgh in late 1849 or early 1850.  On December 3, 1849, he signed a contract with the New York music publisher, Firth, Pond, & Co., thus officially beginning his professional career.  At first, Foster wrote ballads and dances for parlor singers and pianists as well as minstrel songs, often referred to as "Ethiopian" songs, for professional theatrical performers.  The minstrel songs, like the ballads, had simple melodies and accompaniments, but their texts, written in dialect, depicted African-American slaves as simple, good-natured creatures.  Some of his earliest minstrel texts even had crude caricatures and terms, i.e. "Away Down Souf" (1848) and one verse that was later deleted form "Oh! Susanna."  But as Foster grew more ambivalent about the earlier "Ethiopian" songs, he began offering a different image, that of the black as a human being experiencing pain, love, joy, even nostalgia.  "Nelly Was a Lady" (1849) is an eloquent lament of a slave for his loved one who has died, apparently the first song written by a white composer for the white audience of the minstrel shows that portrays a black man and woman as loving husband and wife, and insists on calling the woman a "lady," which was a term reserved for well-born white women.  "Angelina Baker" (1851) similarly laments a slave who has been sent away by "old Massa."  "Ring, Ring de Banjo!" (1851), despite its apparent surface of frivolity, has the slave/singer leaving the plantation "while the ribber's running high," a reference to escaping while the bloodhounds could not pick up his scent, and traveling to freedom on the Underground Railroad. "Old Folks at Home" (1851), which was to become the most popular of all Foster's songs, conveys a sentiment that had almost universal appeal--yearning for lost home, youth, family, and happiness.  Increasingly, the "Ethiopian" songs used the same musical style that Foster created for his parlor ballads.  Foster informed Christy that--as we would put it today--he was trying to reform minstrelsy by writing texts suitable to refined taste, instead of "trashy and really offensive words," and that certain of his songs should be performed in a pathetic, not a comic style.  (By "pathetic," Foster meant "to engender compassion.")  Foster also began using the term "plantation song" for his new compositions, many of which were gentle and nostalgic in text with music that hinted at Irish or Italian ancestry.  Soon he dropped dialect altogether from his texts and eventually referred to his songs as "American melodies."  The verse-chorus structure of these songs made them suitable for both the minstrel stage and the parlor.  In addition to "Old Folks at Home," some of Foster's characteristic songs of this type from the early 1850s are: Farewell, My Lilly Dear" (1851) ~ "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night" (1853) ~ "Old Dog Tray" (1853)  ~ "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair" (1854)
         As the Civil War approached, Foster's once-promising songwriting career seemed to be doomed.  His contracts with his publisher had ended, and he had sold all future rights to his songs to pay his debts.  Possibly in an effort to revive his popularity, Foster reverted to writing plantation melodies.  Of the four he wrote in 1860, one is among his most memorable (and infamous) compositions--"Old Black Joe."  Belying the racial condescension its title epitomizes in the Civil Rights era, "Old Black Joe" comes closest of Foster's famous songs to the African-American spiritual, and it approaches that tradition with sympathy and respect. It is like a secular hymn, praising the noble spirit of the laborer at the end of his life.Sometime during that year, Stephen finally left Pittsburgh and moved his family to New York.  About one year later, Jane took Marion back to Pennsylvania, and Stephen spent the remaining few years of his life in New York, living alone in lodging houses and theater district hotels.  His trunk of manuscripts and letters was lost somewhere in these moves.  Because of the uncertain economy of war time, he no longer could get a publishing contract, and like all other songwriters was forced to sell his compositions outright to publishers with no prospect of future earnings.  Instead of writing his own lyrics, as he had done so successfully in the past, he began collaborating with a young poet, George Cooper, probably late in 1862 or early in 1863.  Cooper's texts were of a light-hearted, humorous vein, designed to appeal to musical theater audiences.  Songs they wrote together include: "There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea" (1863)  ~ "Kissing in the Dark" (1863)  ~ "My Wife is a Most Knowing Woman" (1863) ~ "If You've Only Got a Moustache" (1864) ~ "Mr. & Mrs. Brown" (1864)   The pair also produced some Civil War Songs--"Willie Has Gone to War" and "For the Dear Old Flag I Die!" for example--but Foster's earlier songs found far more favor among soldiers and civilians from both North and South than did these later songs. During these final years, Foster also wrote a group of Sunday school songs and hymns for song books published by Horace Waters.  Some of them, such as "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread," are lovely;  "We'll Still Keep Marching On" is an example of the spirited homiletic style of many of these pieces, which were intended for children.  Altogether, Foster produced almost one hundred songs during his final years in New York.  While few are scarcely known today, one remains an all-time favorite--"Beautiful Dreamer," written in 1862 and published after his death in 1864. Because he did not perform music professionally, as most songwriters did to support themselves, Foster himself was not well known to the public.  Even during his lifetime, his songs were often referred to as folk songs.  For example, during the Gold Rush "Oh!  Susanna" became a kind of theme songs for the Forty-niners, who improvised countless new lyrics for the jaunty tune as they made their way to California.  Today, most school children (as well as adults) still know the tune, but comparatively few can identify Stephen Foster as the composer.  Foster's only real income was the royalty he earned on sheet-music sales.  Altogether he made $15,091.08 in royalties during his lifetime and almost nothing in performing rights (yearly average was $1,371 for his 11 most productive years).  His heirs, Jane and Marion equally, later earned $4,199 in royalties, so that the total known royalties on his songs amounted to $19,290.  Today, it would be worth millions. © University of Pittsburgh, 2003
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