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Francis Scott Key, Georgetown, the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner

April 15 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Join us for a fascinating discussion on Francis Scott Key and the history of the Star Spangled Banner. This presentation will take place in the actual building (Semmes Tavern known today as the City Tavern Club) where Mr. Key organized a light military militia.

The City Tavern Preservation Foundation is proud to bring this event to Georgetown to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Key Bridge (completed in 1923).

We invite you to learn more about Francis Scott Key, his strong connection to Georgetown and his presence in one of the most historic buildings in the DC area.

What So Proudly We Hailed is the first full-length biography of Francis Scott Key in more than 75 years. In this fascinating look at early America, historian Marc Leepson explores the life and legacy of Francis Scott Key. Standing alongside Betsy Ross, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, and John Hancock in history, Key made his mark as an American icon by one single and unforgettable act, writing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Among other things, Leepson reveals:

• How the young Washington lawyer found himself in Baltimore Harbor on the night of September 13-14, 1814

• The mysterious circumstances surrounding how the poem he wrote, first titled “The Defense of Ft. McHenry,” morphed into the National Anthem

• Key’s role in forming the American Colonization Society, and his decades-long fervent support for that controversial endeavor that sent free blacks to Africa

• His adamant opposition to slave trafficking and his willingness to represent slaves and freed men and women for free in Washington’s courts

• Key’s role as a confidant of President Andrew Jackson and his work in Jackson’s “kitchen cabinet”

• Key’s controversial actions as U.S. Attorney during the first race riot in Washington, D.C., in 1835.

The City Tavern Preservation Foundation invites you to attend our War of 1812 presentation. Marc Leepson will present a lively talk on the life of Francis Scott Key, including his time in Georgetown, the British attack on Washington in 1814, the Battle of Baltimore, and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Mr. Leepson is a journalist, historian, and the author of nine books, including What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, a Life (2014).

Books will be available for purchase. The event is free but registration is required on Eventbrite

Saturday, April 15, 2023

6pm: Doors Open: Cash Bar

6:30 pm: Presentation


April 15
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


City Tavern Preservation Foundation


City Tavern
3206 M Street, NW + Google Map