Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Key, Francis Scott (1779-1843) to unknown

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Log in
to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07483.02 Author/Creator: Key, Francis Scott (1779-1843) Place Written: Georgetown, Maryland Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 19 September 1823 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 25.3 x 20.9 cm.

A high-resolution version of this object is available for registered users. LOG IN

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07483.02 Author/Creator: Key, Francis Scott (1779-1843) Place Written: Georgetown, Maryland Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 19 September 1823 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 25.3 x 20.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Written by Key, the penman of the Star Spangled Banner and a founding member of the American Colonization Society, as an attorney to an unknown reverend. Says he would like to join him on the 30th, but cannot because court will be in session. Appears to write on efforts to assist the American Colonization Society. Hopes his correspondent can help supply missionaries. Comments that a Mr. Ayres is making preparations for a school modeled after "the plan of Mr. Johnson at Regents Town" that will keep African captives and boys together. Says they will be put under the charge of Lott Carey, a famous former American slave who journeyed to Africa as a missionary and teacher. Expects 11 captured Africans will "go out in the Fidelity." Ends letter by asking "how is it that the recorder says nothing for Africa & our cause?"

Background Information:

Full Transcript: [excerpt]

Dr Ayres says he is making preparations for a school. He means to adopt in some measure the plan of Mr. Johnson at Regent's Town, & keep the captured Africans & ...the boys together. - He has put them for the present under the charge of Lott Carey. - The young man you speak of will be eminently useful, and I trust the Lord will preserve him. - I expect eleven captured africans (some of them originally from the neighbourhood of Mesurado) will go out in the Fidelity. - How is it that the recorder says nothing for Africa & our cause?See More

People: Key, Francis Scott, 1779-1843

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: SlaveryAfrican American HistoryColonizationReligionAfricaImmigration and MigrationEducation

Sub Era: The First Age of Reform

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources