Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key
|4th United States Attorney for the District of Columbia|
Martin Van Buren
|Preceded by||Thomas Swann|
|Succeeded by||Philip Richard Fendall II|
|Born||August 1, 1779|
Frederick County, Maryland (now Carroll County)
|Died||January 11, 1843 (aged 63)|
|Resting place||Mt. Olivet Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Tayloe Lloyd|
|Children||11, including Philip|
|Relatives||Philip Barton Key (uncle)|
Francis Key Howard (grandson)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (cousin)
Roger B. Taney (brother-in-law)
|Occupation||Poet, lawyer, district attorney|
Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Frederick, Maryland, who is best known for writing the lyrics for the American national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner".
Key observed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 during the War of 1812. He was inspired upon seeing the American flag still flying over the fort at dawn and wrote the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry"; it was published within a week with the suggested tune of the popular song "To Anacreon in Heaven". The song with Key's lyrics became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and slowly gained in popularity as an unofficial anthem, finally achieving official status more than a century later under President Herbert Hoover as the national anthem.
Key was a lawyer in Maryland and Washington D.C. for four decades and worked on important cases, including the Burr conspiracy trial, and he argued numerous times before the Supreme Court. He was nominated for District Attorney for the District of Columbia by President Andrew Jackson, where he served from 1833 to 1841. Key was a devout Episcopalian.
Key owned slaves from 1800, during which time abolitionists ridiculed his words, claiming that America was more like the "Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed". As District Attorney, he suppressed abolitionists and did not support an immediate end to slavery.[better source needed] He was also a leader of the American Colonization Society which sent freed slaves to Africa. He freed some of his slaves in the 1830s, paying one ex-slave as his farm foreman. He publicly criticized slavery and gave free legal representation to some slaves seeking freedom, but he also represented owners of runaway slaves.
Key's father John Ross Key was a lawyer, a commissioned officer in the Continental Army, and a judge of English descent. His mother Ann Phoebe Dagworthy Charlton was born (February 6, 1756 – 1830), to Arthur Charlton, a tavern keeper, and his wife, Eleanor Harrison of Frederick in the colony of Maryland.
Key grew up on the family plantation Terra Rubra in Frederick County, Maryland (now Carroll County). He graduated from St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, in 1796 and read law under his uncle Philip Barton Key who was loyal to the British Crown during the War of Independence. He married Mary Tayloe Lloyd on January 1, 1802, daughter of Edward Lloyd IV of Wye House and Elizabeth Tayloe, daughter of John Tayloe II of Mount Airy and sister of John Tayloe III of The Octagon House.
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
During the War of 1812, Key and British Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner dined aboard HMS Tonnant as the guests of Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross. Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, one of whom was William Beanes, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, who had been arrested after jailing British troops who were taking food from local farms. Skinner, Key, and Beanes were not allowed to return to their own sloop because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and their intention to launch an attack upon Baltimore, and Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13–14, 1814.
At dawn, Key was able to see an American flag waving, and he later wrote a poem about his experience entitled "Defence of Fort M'Henry" which was published in William Pechin's American and Commercial Daily Advertiser on September 21, 1814. He took it to music publisher Thomas Carr, who adapted it to the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith's "To Anacreon in Heaven", a popular tune that Key had already used as a setting for his 1805 song "When the Warrior Returns", celebrating American heroes of the First Barbary War. It was somewhat difficult to sing, yet it became increasingly popular, competing with "Hail, Columbia" (1796) as the de facto national anthem by the time of the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. The song was finally adopted as the American national anthem more than a century after its first publication, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931 signed by President Herbert Hoover.
The third stanza of the Star-Spangled Banner makes disparaging mention of blacks and demonstrates Key's opinion of their seeking freedom at the time by escaping to the British, who promised them freedom from American enslavement.
Key was a leading attorney in Frederick, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., for many years, with an extensive real estate and trial practice. He and his family settled in Georgetown in 1805 or 1806, near the new national capital. He assisted his uncle Philip Barton Key in the sensational conspiracy trial of Aaron Burr and in the expulsion of Senator John Smith of Ohio. He made the first of his many arguments before the United States Supreme Court in 1807. In 1808, he assisted President Thomas Jefferson's attorney general in United States v. Peters.
In 1829, Key assisted in the prosecution of Tobias Watkins, former U.S. Treasury auditor under President John Quincy Adams, for misappropriating public funds. He also handled the Petticoat affair concerning Secretary of War John Eaton, and he served as the attorney for Sam Houston in 1832 during his trial for assaulting Representative William Stanbery of Ohio. After years as an adviser to President Jackson, Key was nominated by the President to District Attorney for the District of Columbia in 1833. He served from 1833 to 1841 while also handling his own private legal cases. In 1835, he prosecuted Richard Lawrence for his attempt to assassinate President Jackson at the top steps of the Capitol, the first attempt to kill an American president.
Key and slavery
Key purchased his first slave in 1800 or 1801 and owned six slaves in 1820. He freed seven slaves in the 1830s, one of whom continued to work for him for wages as his farm's foreman, supervising several slaves. Key also represented several slaves seeking their freedom, as well as several slave-owners seeking return of their runaway slaves. Key was one of the executors of John Randolph of Roanoke's will, which freed his 400 slaves, and Key fought to enforce the will for the next decade and to provide the freed slaves with land to support themselves.
Key is known to have publicly criticized slavery's cruelties, and a newspaper editorial stated that "he often volunteered to defend the downtrodden sons and daughters of Africa." The editor said that Key "convinced me that slavery was wrong—radically wrong".
A quote increasingly credited to Key stating that free blacks are "a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community" is erroneous. The quote is taken from an 1838 letter that Key wrote to Reverend Benjamin Tappan of Maine who had sent Key a questionnaire about the attitudes of Southern religious institutions about slavery. Rather than representing a statement by Key identifying his personal thoughts, the words quoted are offered by Key to describe the attitudes of others who assert that formerly enslaved blacks could not remain in the U.S. as paid laborers. This was the official policy of the American Colonization Society. Key was an ACS leader and fundraiser for the organization, but he himself did not send the men and women he freed to Africa upon their emancipation. The original confusion around this quote arises from ambiguities in the 1937 biography of Key by Edward S. Delaplaine.
Key was a founding member and active leader of the American Colonization Society (ACS), whose primary goal was to send free blacks to Africa. Though many free blacks were born in the United States by this time, historians argue that upper-class American society, of which Key was a part, could never "envision a multiracial society". The ACS was not supported by most abolitionists or free blacks of the time, but the organization's work would eventually lead to the creation of Liberia in 1847.
In the early 1830s American thinking on slavery changed quite abruptly. Considerable opposition to the American Colonization Society's project emerged. Led by newspaper editor and publisher Wm. Lloyd Garrison, a growing portion of the population noted that only a very small number of free blacks were actually moved, and they faced brutal conditions in West Africa, with very high mortality. Free blacks made it clear that few of them wanted to move, and if they did, it would be to Canada, Mexico, or Central America, not Africa. The leaders of the American Colonization Society, including Key, were predominantly slaveowners. The Society was intended to preserve slavery, rather than eliminate it. In the words of philanthropist Gerrit Smith, it was "quite as much an Anti-Abolition, as Colonization Society". "This Colonization Society had, by an invisible process, half conscious, half unconscious, been transformed into a serviceable organ and member of the Slave Power."
The alternative to the colonization of Africa, project of the American Colonization Society, was the total and immediate abolition of slavery in the United States. This Key was firmly against, with or without slaveowner compensation, and he used his position as District Attorney to attack abolitionists. In 1833, he secured a grand jury indictment against Benjamin Lundy, editor of the anti-slavery publication Genius of Universal Emancipation, and his printer William Greer, for libel after Lundy published an article that declared, "There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district [of Columbia]". Lundy's article, Key said in the indictment, "was intended to injure, oppress, aggrieve, and vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates and constables" of Washington. Lundy left town rather than face trial; Greer was acquitted.
Prosecution of Reuben Crandall
In a larger unsuccessful prosecution, in August 1836 Key obtained an indictment against Reuben Crandall, brother of controversial Connecticut teacher Prudence Crandall, who had recently moved to Washington, D.C. It accused Crandall of "seditious libel" after two marshals (who operated as slave catchers in their off hours) found Crandall had a trunk full of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown residence/office, five days after the Snow riot, caused by rumors that a mentally ill slave had attempted to kill an elderly white woman. In an April 1837 trial that attracted nationwide attention and that congressmen attended, Key charged that Crandall's publications instigated slaves to rebel. Crandall's attorneys acknowledged he opposed slavery, but denied any intent or actions to encourage rebellion. Evidence was introduced that the anti-slavery publications were packing materials used by his landlady in shipping his possessions to him. He had not "published" anything; he had given one copy to one man who had asked for it.
Key, in his final address to the jury said:
Are you willing, gentlemen, to abandon your country, to permit it to be taken from you, and occupied by the abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the negro? Or, gentlemen, on the other hand, are there laws in this community to defend you from the immediate abolitionist, who would open upon you the floodgates of such extensive wickedness and mischief?"
The jury acquitted Crandall of all charges. This public and humiliating defeat, as well as family tragedies in 1835, diminished Key's political ambition. He resigned as District Attorney in 1840. He remained a staunch proponent of African colonization and a strong critic of the abolition movement until his death.
Crandall died shortly after his acquittal of pneumonia contracted in the Washington jail.
Key was a devout and prominent Episcopalian. In his youth, he almost became an Episcopal priest rather than a lawyer. Throughout his life he sprinkled biblical references in his correspondence. He was active in All Saints Parish in Frederick, Maryland, near his family's home. He also helped found or financially support several parishes in the new national capital, including St. John's Episcopal Church in Georgetown and Christ Church in Alexandria (at the time, in the District of Columbia).
Key also helped found two Episcopal seminaries, one in Baltimore and the other across the Potomac River in Alexandria (the Virginia Theological Seminary). Key also published a prose work called The Power of Literature, and Its Connection with Religion in 1834.
Death and legacy
On January 11, 1843, Key died at the home of his daughter Elizabeth Howard in Baltimore from pleurisy at age 63. He was initially interred in Old Saint Paul's Cemetery in the vault of John Eager Howard but in 1866, his body was moved to his family plot in Frederick at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
The Key Monument Association erected a memorial in 1898 and the remains of both Francis Scott Key and his wife, Mary Tayloe Lloyd, were placed in a crypt in the base of the monument.
Despite several efforts to preserve it, the Francis Scott Key residence was ultimately dismantled in 1947. The residence had been located at 3516–18 M Street in Georgetown.
Though Key had written poetry from time to time, often with heavily religious themes, these works were not collected and published until 14 years after his death. Two of his religious poems used as Christian hymns include "Before the Lord We Bow" and "Lord, with Glowing Heart I'd Praise Thee".
In 1806, Key's sister, Anne Phoebe Charlton Key, married Roger B. Taney, who would later become Chief Justice of the United States. In 1846 one daughter, Alice, married U.S. Senator George H. Pendleton and another, Ellen Lloyd, married Simon F. Blunt. In 1859, Key's son Philip Barton Key II, who also served as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, was shot and killed by Daniel Sickles—a U.S. Representative from New York who would serve as a general in the American Civil War—after he discovered that Philip Barton Key was having an affair with his wife. Sickles was acquitted in the first use of the temporary insanity defense. In 1861, Key's grandson Francis Key Howard was imprisoned in Fort McHenry with the Mayor of Baltimore George William Brown and other locals deemed to be Confederate sympathizers.
Key was a distant cousin and the namesake of F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. His direct descendants include geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan, guitarist Dana Key, and American fashion designer and socialite Pauline de Rothschild.
Monuments and memorials
- Francis Scott Key Monument in Baltimore
- Two bridges are named in his honor. The first is between the Rosslyn section of Arlington County, Virginia, and Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Key's Georgetown home, which was dismantled in 1947 (as part of construction for the Whitehurst Freeway), was located on M Street NW, in the area between the Key Bridge and the intersection of M Street and Whitehurst Freeway. The location is illustrated on a sign in the Francis Scott Key park.
- The other bridge is part of the Baltimore Beltway crossing the outer harbor of Baltimore, and is located at the approximate point where the British anchored to shell Fort McHenry.
- St. John's College, Annapolis, from which Key graduated in 1796, has an auditorium named in his honor.
- Francis Scott Key was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
- He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, the same resting place as that of Thomas Johnson, the first governor of Maryland, and friend Barbara Fritchie, who allegedly waved the American flag out of her home in defiance of Stonewall Jackson's march through the city during the Civil War.
- Francis Scott Key Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park is named in his honor. The George Washington University also has a residence hall in Key's honor at the corner of 20th and F Streets.
- Francis Scott Key High School in rural Carroll County, Maryland.
- Francis Scott Key Middle School in Houston, Texas
- Francis Scott Key Elementary School (several, including California, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC); Francis Scott Key School in Philadelphia.
- Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland.
- The Frederick Keys minor league baseball team – a Baltimore affiliate – is named after Key.
- A monument to Key was commissioned by San Francisco businessman James Lick, who donated some $60,000 for a sculpture of Key to be raised in Golden Gate Park. The travertine monument was executed by sculptor William W. Story in Rome in 1885–87. The city of San Francisco recently allocated some US$140,000 to renovate the Key monument, which was about to be lost to environmental degradation if repairs were not made. Repairs were recently finished on the monument located in the music concourse outside the de Young Museum. The statue was unlawfully toppled by protesters on June 19, 2020.
- The World War II Liberty ship SS Francis Scott Key was named in his honor.
- The US Navy named a submarine in his honor, the USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657).
- Leepson, Marc, What so Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, a life (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), Appendix A, p. 202
- "Roger Brooke Taney". NNDB: Tracking the Whole Entire World. Soylent Communications. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Penton, Kemberly (September 14, 2016). "Remembering Francis Scott Key: The Man Behind America's National Anthem 'The Star-Spangled Banner'". Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- Lineberry, Cate (March 1, 2007). "The Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner". Smithsonian. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- Rose, Mona (July 6, 2013). Star Spangled Banner As You've Never Heard It. Retrieved June 20, 2020 – via YouTube.
- "Where's the Debate on Francis Scott Key's Slave-Holding Legacy?". Smithsonian. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- Morley, Jefferson (September 2, 2012). "'Land of the Free?' Francis Scott Key, Composer of National Anthem, Was Defender of Slavery". HuffPost.
- "The unexpected connection between slavery, NFL protests and the national anthem". CNN. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
- "Francis Scott Key's life was a lot more complicated than just writing The Star-Spangled Banner". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
- "A Sketch of Francis Scott Key, with a Glimpse of His Ancestors" - F. S. Key Smith
- Key and Allied Families - By Julian C. Lane
- Francis Scott Key: Patriotic Poet By Susan R. Gregson
- Hubbell, Jay B. The South in American Literature: 1607–1900. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1954: 300.
- Tayloe, Walter Randolph, 1904-. The Tayloes of Virginia And Allied Families. Berryville, Va.: pp. 5, 1963. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89066361866&view=1up&seq=23&q1=key
- Hubbell, Jay B. The South in American Literature: 1607–1900. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1954: 301.
- Baltimore Sunday Sun Magazine, September 13, 1964
- Mark Clague, Star-Spangled Mythbusting (June 5, 2014) at www.chorusamerica.org/singers/star-spangled-mythbusting
- "Star-Spangled Mythbusting".
- Stiehm, Jamie (September 6, 2018). "The Star-Spangled Banner's' racist lyrics reflect its slave owner author, Francis Scott Key". The Undefeated. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- Houston, Whitney. "Star Spangled Banner Super Bowl XXV". Google. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- Campisi, Jessie; Willingham, A J (July 2018). "Behind the Lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner". CNN. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- Leepson, pp. 16, 20–24
- Leepson, pp. 116–122
- Sam Houston. Handbook of Texas Online.
- "Francis Scott Key | American lawyer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "Francis Scott Key | Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Archived from the original on April 4, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- Leepson p. 25
- Leepson pp. 130–131 post-Turner's rebellion emancipations of Romeo, William Ridout, Elizabeth Hicks, Clem Johnson.
- Leepson pp. 125
- Leepson, p. 144
- Leepson p. 26 citing Cincinnati Daily Gazette July 11, 1870
- "An Erroneous Francis Scott Key Quote". Star Spangled Music Foundation. Retrieved June 27, 2020. In response to a question asking why some Colonizationists thought that slaves should not be emancipated, Key says (as reprinted in an 1839 pamphlet by Augustus Palmer): "It is, I believe, universally so thought by them. I never heard a contrary opinion, except that some conceived, some time ago, that the territory of our country, to the West, might be set apart for them. But few, comparatively adopted this idea; and I never hear it advocated now. This opinion is founded on the conviction that their labor, however it might be needed, could not be secured, but by a severer system of constraint than that of slavery—that they would constitute a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that could afflict a community. I do not suppose, however, that they would object to their reception in the free States, if they chose to make preparations for their comfortable settlement among them."
- Delaplaine, Edward S. (2012) [1937 by The Biography Press]. Francis Scott Key: Life and Times. Heritage Books. p. 449. ISBN 978-1-5854-9685-3.
- "Francis Scott Key, the Reluctant Patriot". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- Smith, Hal H. "Historic Washington Homes". Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington. 1908.
- Morley, Jefferson (2012). Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835. New York: Nan Talese/Doubleday. p. 81.
- Morley, Jefferson, Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan Talese/Doubleday, New York, 2012), 211–220
- Leepson, pp. 169–72, 181–85
- Morley, Jefferson. "What role did the famous author of "The Star-Spangled Banner" play in the debate over American slavery?". The Globalist. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "A-Z Glossary: Key, Francis Scott". An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church. The Episcopal Church. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
- Leepson, pp. x–xi.
- "History of American Bible Society – American Bible Society". americanbible.org. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- Jason, Philip K.; Graves, Mark A. (2001). Encyclopedia of American war literature. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 197.
- Francis Scott Key Park Marker. Hmdb.org. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- "The Cyber Hymnal". Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- "George Hunt Pendleton". Ohio Civil War Central. March 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- "Assassination of Philip Barton Key, by Daniel E. Sickles of New York". Hartford Daily Courant. March 1, 1959. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
For more than a year there have been floating rumors of improper intimacy between Mr. Key and Mrs. Sickles They have from time to time attended parties, the opera, and rode out together. Mr. Sickles has heard of these reports, but would never credit them until Thursday evening last. On that evening, just as a party was about breaking up at his house, Mr Sickles received among his papers...
- Twain, Mark (2010). The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume One. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 566. ISBN 978-0-520-26719-0.
- "Francis Scott Key – Francis Scott Key Biography". Poem Hunter. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- "Restored Key Monument Rededicated". Heritage Preservation. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
Charles Marburg gave $25,000 to his brother Theodore to commission a monument to his favorite poet, Francis Scott Key. The French sculptor Marius Jean Antonin Mercie was the selected artist. At the time, Mercié was known for European sculptures as well as the Robert E. Lee (1890) equestrian bronze in Richmond, Virginia, and collaboration on General Lafayette (1891) in the District of Columbia.
- "Francis Scott Key Park". Historical Marker Database. February 23, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
- "Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695)". Maryland Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- "Annapolis Concerts – Community Events – Music". St. John's College. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
- "Francis Scott Key". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
- Wood, Pamela (August 14, 2014). "Francis Scott Key legacy lives on in Frederick". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
Maryland's first governor, Thomas Johnson, is buried there, as is Barbara Fritchie
- "History". Barbara Fritchie House. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
She was a friend of Francis Scott Key
- Gardener, Karen (July 1, 2012). "The Ballad of 'Barbara Frietchie:' Is her story truth, fiction or somewhere in between?". The Frederick News-Post. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- "The name Byrd Stadium is no more, but other UMD buildings have discriminatory namesakes, too". The Diamondback. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
- "Francis Scott Key (FSK) Hall | GW Housing | Division of Student Affairs". The George Washington University. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "Francis Scott Key Elementary School, San Francisco, CA".
- "Francis Scott Key Mall". Retrieved April 7, 2018.
- The Ultimate Minor League Baseball Road Trip: A Fan's Guide to AAA, AA, A, and Independent League Stadiums. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781599216270.
- "Francis Scott Key". The New York Times. March 14, 1897. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
Francis Scott Key, the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner," is to have a monument erected to his memory by the citizens of Baltimore, Md., the city in which he died. The monument will be in the form of a bronze statue of heroic size, with a suitable pedestal – the work of Alexander Doyle, a sculptor of this city. ... There is a monument to Key in Golden Gate Park. It was executed by William W. Story ...
- "San Francisco Landmark 96: Francis Scott Key Monument, Golden Gate Park". Noehill in San Francisco. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- "Refurbished Key Monument to Be Site on Star-Spangled Banner Walking Tour". City of Baltimore. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- "Protest updates: Protesters tear down 2 statues in Golden Gate Park". San Francisco Chronicle. June 20, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- 2014 biography, What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life
- Works by Francis Scott Key at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Francis Scott Key at Internet Archive
- Works by Francis Scott Key at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Francis Scott Key at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Short biography
- Francis Scott Key biography at Cyber Hymnal http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/k/e/y/key_fs.htmhttp://www.hymntime.com/tch/
- Preservation of the Residence of Francis Scott Key, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University. This pamphlet was written by the Columbia Historical Society in an effort to save the Francis Scott Key home from destruction in the 1940s.
- Booknotes interview with Irvin Molotsky on The Flag, The Poet and The Song, September 9, 2001.
- "Francis Scott Key's OTHER Verse" – selections from Key's other poetry and verse.