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Sharing a Star-Spangled Life

Location: Hynson Lounge

November 19, 2014
Think you know Francis Scott Key? You may be in for a surprise when the author of a new biography of Francis Scott Key speaks Nov. 19 about the complex character who wrote our national anthem and befriended some of the most influential thinkers of his day.

Chestertown, MD—Two hundred years ago this fall, as the battle in Baltimore harbor raged, a Maryland lawyer, captive on the decks of a British warship, penned the lines that would later become our national anthem. The enigmatic patriot Francis Scott Key will be the subject of a talk by author Marc Leepson on Wednesday, November 19, at Washington College. The free program, sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center, will begin 5:30 p.m. at Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall on the College campus. A reception and book signing will follow. 

Best known for his role in the War of 1812, Key was a complex and multifaceted man. A slave owner who defended slave’s rights in court, he also significantly contributed to the shaping of American law and democracy in the early republic. A gifted lawyer, a confidant of President Andrew Jackson, and brother-in-law to Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, Key opened his home in Washington, D.C. as a gathering place for many of the intellectual heavyweights of the day. Leepson’s recently published book, What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life (Palgrave Macmillan) is the first biography of Key in more than 75 years. 

The Washington Independent Review of Books writes: “Marc Leepson seeks to shed some light on the fascinating life of Francis Scott Key, who was much more than just a poet of one famous song. The result is an enjoyable and thoroughly engaging look at a fascinating historical figure whose great accomplishment has been remembered even if the memory of his life has faded in the shifting sands of time.” 

Marc Leepson is a journalist, historian and the author of eight books including a biography of the Marquis de Lafayette.  A former staff writer for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., he has been a free-lance writer since 1986. He has written for many newspapers and magazines, including Smithsonian, Military History, Civil War Times, the Washington Post, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Baltimore Sun. He teaches U.S. history at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton, Virginia. 

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. 

Last modified on Nov. 12th, 2014 at 7:19pm by .