Lot 351

Previous image preload Next image preload


Francis Scott Key Adds to Robert Burns Poem Discovered in Period Journal

An incredible literary find - a period journal containing a Robert Burns poem to which had been added an original stanza by Francis Scott Key. An autograph manuscript signed, "F S Key Esqr," 1 page, measuring 3.5" x 1.25", n.p., c. 1829, being four lines of a poem originally affixed in an 18mo leather-bound journal kept by Elizabeth Willis Gloster Anderson (1796-1873) of Warrenton, North Carolina. Light marginal wear and toning to the manuscript, else fine condition; the journal has some loose pages, marginal chipping and wear to places, binding is loose, but in overall good condition.

Francis Scott Key's manuscript is an original stanza added to Robert Burns' poem "John Anderson, My Jo," transcribed in Mrs. Anderson's journal by her friend Ellen Mordechai (1790-1884), a noted teacher and author, on September 9, 1827. Miss Mordechai began the transcription with her own original lines to personalize the poem for Elizabeth's husband who was also named John Anderson (and born to Scottish parents):

"John Anderson, my Jo, John when nature first began

To try her canny hand, John, her master-work was Man,

And you among them a', John, so trig from top to toe,

She prov'd to be no journey-work, John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John, ye were my first conceit,

I think nae shame to own, John, I lo'ed you ear' and late

They say y're turning auld, John, and what tho's that so,

Ye're ay the same kind man to me, John Anderson, My Jo."

She then commits a mostly faithful transcription of Burns' original, a poem celebrating love maturing into old age (with spelling and word variations transcribed without comment). Francis Scott Key, obviously appreciating the spirit of the additional text that preceded the original Burns verse, contributed his own four original lines to the verse, which reads in full:

"John Anderson, my Joe John, from that sleep again will wake,

And another Man's fair light, on our opened eyes shall break,

And we'll rise in youth & beauty, to that bright land to go

Where life and love shall last for eye, John Anderson my Joe."

Although Elizabeth Anderson's friend Ellen Mordechai wrote `these lines in 1827, Key likely added his lines to the poem in February 1829 when her first cousin, Congressman Daniel Turner (1796-1860) married Key's daughter Ann Arnold Key (1811-1884). Ann married Turner, a West Point graduate who had served in the War of 1812, on February 25, 1829, in a ceremony in Washington. Turner, who was completing a single two-year term in Congress, returned to Warrenton, North Carolina with his new bride a day before Andrew Jackson's inauguration on March 4, 1829. On the verso of the slip bearing Key's additional stanza is a note, written in an unknown hand, identifying the slip: as by "Mr. Key. Author of the Star Spangled Banner..." In an unlikely, but serendipitous confluence of events, Ann Arnold Key's husband Daniel Turner later took a position as superintendent of the Warrenton Female Academy in 1846. That institution was founded in 1809 by Ellen Mordechai's father Jacob Mordecai (1762-1838), a prominent Jewish merchant who settled in Warrenton in 1792. He founded the school as a non-denominational institution and ran it until 1819, when he sold the school and moved his family to Richmond, Virginia. Provenance: Elizabeth Willis Gloster Anderson (1796-1873); Mary May Anderson (1821-1879); Elva May Yancey (1842-1948); Alice Graham (b. 1877); bequeathed by Miss Graham to the family of the most recent owner in Alabama who was one of her music students. The journal is accompanied by copies of several newspaper articles dating from 1906 describing the Key manuscript as owned by Miss Alice Graham.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


Unless otherwise indicated, we do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice. If any changes to the shipping address need to be made, you must inform us immediately.***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 10 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Wilton, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

February 1, 2023 11:00 AM EST
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000