Stephen Collins Foster (July 4, 1826 – January 13, 1864), known as "the father of American music", was an American songwriter known primarily for his parlor and minstrel music.
He wrote more than 200 songs, including "Oh! Susanna", "Hard Times Come Again No More", "Camptown Races", "Old Folks at Home" ("Swanee River"), "My Old Kentucky Home", "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", "Old Black Joe", and "Beautiful Dreamer", and many of his compositions remain popular today.
He has been identified as "the most famous songwriter of the nineteenth century" and may be the most recognizable American composer in other countries.
His compositions are sometimes referred to as "childhood songs" because they have been included in the music curriculum of early education.
Most of his handwritten music manuscripts are lost, but editions issued by publishers of his day can be found in various collections.