Stephen Foster (1826-1864) was born in Pennsylvania,
U.S.A. and was one of ten children in a poor to middle-class family. He only spent one month at college, and had little formal music training. Despite this, he published several songs before the age of twenty.
Two contrasting influences shaped his early years, a music shop owner with classical training, and a clown who dressed as a minstrel with his face painted black.
Stephen Foster was the most famous songwriter in the USA of the 19th century. He wrote Campdown Races, Oh Susanna, and Old Folks at Home, amongst many more.