Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster (HM2FN2)

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N 40° 42.914', W 73° 59.814'

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America's First Great Songwriter

—30 Bowery —

In the 1800's this was the site of the New England Hotel, the final home of America's first great popular songwriter, Stephen Foster (1826-1864). Foster composed over 200 songs, many of which have passed into the American Canon. They include "Camptown Races," "Old Folks at Home," "My Old Kentucky Home," "Beautiful Dreamer," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," and "Hard Times Come Again No More." His "Oh Susanna," forever changed the history of American popular song, selling over 100,000 copies at a time when the previous best selling song had sold no more than 5000 copies.
Foster wrote most of his beat sellers for the minstrel stage. Born when the Virginia Minstrels formed in this hotel in 1843, minstrelsy was created by white men blacking up and pretending to represent African American plantation culture, with the central instrument being the banjo, which was derived from West Africa. Though it popularized Black stereotypes, minstrelsy swept America and by the 1860 there were thousands of troupes - even African America troupes - performing around the world.
Alcoholism deeply affected Foster's short, tragic life. he sold many of his best songs for a pittance. When he died in this hotel, he left an estate of less than

one dollar.
- Mick Moloney. Musician/Historian, co-author with Lenwood Sloan of Two Roads Diverged: Africans and Irish Americans and the Rise of American Popular Culture
HM NumberHM2FN2
Placed ByBowery Alliance of Neighbors
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, April 15th, 2019 at 11:03am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 584724 N 4507629
Decimal Degrees40.71523333, -73.99690000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 42.914', W 73° 59.814'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 42' 54.84" N, 73° 59' 48.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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