Birth of Francis Scott Key, Author of National Anthem 

U.S. #962

Born on August 1, 1779, in western Maryland, Francis Scott Key witnessed the devastating attack of Fort McHenry which inspired him to pen one of our nation’s most patriotic tunes – “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Key initially opposed the War of 1812 due to his religious beliefs. However, feeling a deep love for his country, he briefly served in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery in 1813. But it was a rescue mission the following year that made Key a household name.

U.S. #4921

In early September 1814, Dr. William Beanes was wrongly captured by the British and taken prisoner. Key boarded a British boat to negotiate the doctor’s release and eventually succeeded. However, Key had heard the British plans to attack Fort McHenry and was ordered to wait until after the battle to return home. He and Beanes were tied up and forced to wait on a British ship in the Chesapeake Bay.

U.S. #4853/71 Star-Spangled Banner Flag Stamps

They waited anxiously, watching the battle play out and keeping an eye on the American flag over the fort, until the smoke of cannons and the dark of night obscured it from their view. On the morning of September 14, they looked to the fort and saw the flag waving overhead. Key was so moved by the sight that he began to compose a poem, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which would later become “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America’s National Anthem.

Click each stamp image to add this neat history to your collection.

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  1. Hi Don and Everyone at Mystic,

    Thanks for making This Day in History a daily feature on your site and now by email. I will look forward to reading and enjoying each one.

    Thanks for all that you do to encourage and support stamp collecting.

    Best Wishes,

    Jerry Hallead
    APS 152888
    Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, NY

  2. Love this feature. Since I have been a collector since 1958, I have all of these stamps and though I am elderly and keep thinking I should quit, I am enticed to keep on. Joy

  3. I have really enjoyed this column. The important dates coupled with the related postage stamps was quite interesting.

  4. Good idea! Nice Touch!

    As a former, native Baltimorean and Marylander, I really appreciated this posting.

    Thanks, again.

  5. I enjoy reading daily historical events as they happened in Americas’ growth. I have a book that is titled “ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY” which I read every day.

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    1. In the digital age, spam is the equivalent of junk mail. So a spammer is someone who sends unwanted junk messages. Spam is typically distributed via automated programs. The goal of the spammer is often to get free advertisements for questionable products.

  6. What an outstanding presentation, I am going to use this in the schools that I
    will be lecturing this year.
    One of my assignment for the year, will be to encourage students to build a
    Historic Book of Memories with their stamps.
    So look for a busy year with my Philatelic Nerds.
    keep the educational and inspirational information coming. This gives a
    better appreciation of our Country and it’s history.
    Thank you

  7. Glad to see another month start out with a historical date-stamp(s). I hope you will continue this ‘without end’. This is the kind of history that we often don’t find in history books.

  8. I have a stamp collection. Left to me it is 89. Yrs old I want to sale the whole thing hundred of stamps can you tell me what it should bring ,thank you kay

  9. I Love stamp collecting, BUT, I”m 1 year behind putting in my books! Winter job!! Farming the rest of seasons.

  10. May I add my “THIS IS GREAT” I sure hope the young as well as the old look at these each day. They sure add to my interest and will for some time to come.

    Many thanks the Mystic and all the crew.

    George Pastore

  11. Your “This Day in History” articles are just incredible! Thank you for writing these and sending them to us. I look forward to reading them as well as the rest of the content. I always appreciate learning more about American history.

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