home button
stephen foster button
use the collection
museum button
support us button
Foster Banner
biography button
chronology button
Bilbiography button
FAQ button
minstrelsy button
myths button
Social Orchestra button
songs arranged alphabetically button
songs arranged chronologically button

Below is a list of the best resources to consult for more information on Stephen Foster. For information on additional Foster print resources, please consult Calvin Elliker's book.

Print Resources

Austin, William. Susanna, Jeanie, and the Old Folks at Home : The Songs of Stephen C. Foster from His Time to Ours. 2nd edition, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

The best study of the poetic sources and varied interpretations of Foster's song texts.

Elliker, Calvin. Stephen Collins Foster: A Guide to Research. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1988.

Lists 423 editions of music, books and articles, pictures, statues, parks, memorials, dramatic and literary tributes, and musical compositions based on Foster's works.

Emerson, Ken. Doo-dah! Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

First biography of Foster in over sixty years. Traces Foster's impact on twentieth century music and American popular culture.

Hamm, Charles. "Stephen Foster and Indigenous American Song" Chapter 9 in Music in the New World. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1983.

Documents Foster's composition skills, analyzes his musical styles and influences.

Howard, John Tasker. Stephen Foster: America's Troubadour. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1934, 2nd edition, 1953.

First documentary biography of Foster. Contains extensive information on his career, excerpts from family letters, etc.

Morneweck, Evelyn Foster. Chronicles of Stephen Foster's Family. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1944.

Biography of Foster written by Foster's niece. The book includes the most thorough genealogy and history of the extended family. Both Volume 1 and Volume II are both now available online as part of the University of Pittsburgh's Digital Library (see links below).

Root, Deane. "Rediscovering Stephen Collins Foster," AB Bookman's Weekly (December 6, 1993), pp. 2357-2372. A description of the Foster Hall Collection at the University of Pittsburgh, its manuscript and rare-books materials, and how they contribute to our understanding of history.

Saunders, Steven and Root, Deane L., editors. The Music of Stephen C. Foster: A Critical Edition. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990.

Winner of American Library Association Choice Award. The definitive edition of the composer's complete works, printed from copies of the original editions, with notes on sources.

Full text items related to Foster on the University of Pittsburgh's Digital Library:

Stephen Foster's Sketchbook

Fully digitized version of Foster's sketchbook, searchable by any term that appears in the book.

The Stephen Foster Memorial at the University of Pittsburgh: A Tribute to the Composer Whose Melodies Have Become Heart Songs of the American People

Fully digitized version of the pamphlet written for the dedication of the Stephen Foster Memorial in 1937. Part of the Historic Pittsburgh collection of the University of Pittsburgh's digital library.

The Minstrel of the Alleghenies by Harvey B. Gaul

Full digitzed version of the pamphlet describing Stephen Foster's life.

The Chronicles of Stephen Foster's Family, Volume I, by Evelyn Foster Morneweck

Fully digitized version of the first volume of Foster's niece's biography of her famous uncle, including extensive illustrations and full texts of family letters.

The Chronicles of Stephen Foster's Family, Volume II, by Evelyn Foster Morneweck

Fully digitzed version of the second volume of Foster's niece's biography of her famous uncle, including extensive illustrations, full-text of family letters, and genealogical information on the Foster family.

Finding Aids:

Guide to the Foster Hall Collection.

The Foster Hall Collection consists of music manuscripts, Stephen Foster’s bound sketchbook, his bound account book, his personal and family correspondence, musical instruments, business records, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera. As the centerpiece of the Center for American Music’s library, the collection provides a valuable record of Foster’s composition process, nineteenth century life in the United States, the music business, Pittsburgh history, and Foster’s legacy. Digital reproductions of portions of the collection are available online.


Full Text items from the Internet Archive

Pictorial biography of Stephen Collins Foster, America’s famous songwriter; photos and data collected by Grover Sims, supplementary material from other sources edited and amplified by Margherita Tirindelli. Musical Courier, 1930.


Catalogue of first editions of Stephen C. Foster (1826-1864): published in 1915, this was the first concerted effort to identify Foster's songs by Walter Whittlesey at the Library of Congress.

My Brother Stephen by Morrison Foster: Biography by Stephen's brother, originally published as part of Biography, songs and musical compositions of Stephen C. Foster, 1896

Stephen Collins Foster; a biography of America's folk-song composerby Harold Vincent Milligan, New York: G. Schirmer, 1920

Stephen Foster : maker of American songs / [text by Joseph T. Kingston ; sketches by Guy Colt ; edited by S.W. Higginbotham and Donald H. Kent]. Revised edition, second printing. Pamphlet by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977


Other Web Resources:

1930 Musical Courier

Pictorial biography of Foster.

American Experience Documentary

Companion Website to the PBS documentary "Stephen Foster."

Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture

A site hosted by the University of Virginia; contains information on Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home."

An Address by John Tasker Howard.

Made at the Annual Stephen Foster Memorial Program in Carnegie Music Hall on 13 January 1934 from The Pittsburgh Record, March 1934.


Stephen Foster's entry in Wikipedia, the online, collaborative encyclopedia.

Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection

John Hopkins University's index of 26,000 pieces of sheet music, with scanned images of covers and music for pieces over 75 years old. Includes 300+ Foster pieces.

Benjamin Tubb's Website Extensive midi library of Foster songs and comprehensive Foster lyrics.


The Center for American Music is part of the University of Pittsburgh Library System.
Copyright © 2014 Center for American Music. All content is protected by copyright and may not be copied and/or used for any purpose without written consent.

last updated April 13, 2020