Category: Links to History

  • Celebrating 65 years

    Celebrating 65 years

    Welcome to the 65th season of The Stephen Foster Story at the beautifully renovated J. Dan Talbot Amphitheater.  It was the summer of 1957 when a group of farsighted people created the idea of a drama to ensure the music of America’s troubadour lived on. My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown was already…

  • Bob dylan & Stephen Foster

    Bob dylan & Stephen Foster

    Happy 83rd birthday to American music icon Bob Dylan! The Nobel Prize-winning singer, songwriter, musician and author has not only contributed significantly to the American songbook since he burst on to the scene as a recording artist in the early 1960s, but has also proven to be an enthusiastic student of the craft. Dylan’s appreciation…

  • About Stephen Foster

    About Stephen Foster

    Stephen Foster (1826 – 1864) was America’s first great songwriter. Considered one of the earliest published American composers to write songs based on American themes, Foster drew inspirations from the realities of life in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and throughout United States in the mid 1800’s, in addition to the same European influences of his contemporaries. The…

  • andrew Carnegie

    andrew Carnegie

    1836 – 1919 Industrialist, Philanthropist Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and became one of the richest Americans in history. He became a leading philanthropist in the United States and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away ~$350 million…

  • Lem Reed

    Lem Reed

    1877 – 1955 Connection outside the show The legendary Lem Reed made a tremendous contribution to tourism in Bardstown with his self taught musical talent. Lem played banjo and greeted visitors with a musical welcome to My Old Kentucky Home from the mid 1940’s until his death in 1955. 

  • A Brief History of the Banjo

    A Brief History of the Banjo

    Modern banjo-playing has historical roots that go back over 150 years to late 19th and early 20th century classic banjo styles, mid-19th century minstrel banjo styles, and even earlier African musical influences. The idea of stretching a skin tightly across a resonating chamber, attaching a neck, adding one or more drone strings, and playing the…

  • Stephen Foster

    Stephen Foster

    1826 – 1864 Composer A prolific writer, Foster composed and arranged over 200 pieces of music during his brief career. His “Oh! Susanna” was the first viral hit, becoming the theme of the goldrush. He wrote of the love of his life, Jane, and the community around him. His song “Nelly Was A Lady” was…

  • Jenny Lind

    Jenny Lind

    1820 – 1887  Connection outside the show Henry Kleber produced concerts with local and national artist. His concert with singer Jenny Lind caused a near riot in Pittsburgh. Lind-o-mania swept Pittsburgh in spring of 1851, when Henry booked the Swedish Nightingale for Tuesday nights of concerts on April 25 and 26, 1851 at Pittsburgh’s new…

  • Frederick Douglass

    Frederick Douglass

    1817 to 1895 Abolitionist, Orator, Writer, Statesman Connection outside the show  In “My Bondage and My Freedom,” abolitionist luminary Frederick Douglass, himself formally enslaved, wrote that the song “[My Old Kentucky Home – Good Night!] awakens sympathies for the slave, in which anti-slavery principles take root, grow, and flourish.”

  • Jane McDowell Foster Wiley

    Jane McDowell Foster Wiley

    1829 – 1903 Jane and Stephen were married for 14 years until he died on January 13, 1864 in New York City. Jane had left Stephen in New York and went to work as a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania railroad which had just began hiring women. Morrison Foster, brother of Stephen, aided Jane and…