Francis Hopkinson poems


Date: undated | Size: 0.25 Linear feet, 12 items

Background note

Francis Hopkinson was a statesman, lawyer, author, and composer born September 21, 1737 in Philadelphia. He completed a bachelors and masters degree from the College of Philadelphia by 1760 and began his career as Secretary of a Commission of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania before entering private practice from 1761 to 1766. Hopkinson was a fabric and wine merchant starting in 1768, the same year he was elected to the American Philosophical Society; he served as the Society's Curator from 1776 to 1782.

Hopkinson is most notable for signing the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey. He had been a Collector of Customs in New Jersey colony as well as practicing lawyer and member and the Executive Council for 10 months in 1775.

After the Revlotionary War, Hopkinson was nominated and confirmed to the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania in 1789. Before this, he was a Treasurer for the Continental Loan Office in Philadelphia from 1778 to 1781 and Judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania from 1779 to 1789. During this time he helped design the first American coinage and early versions of the United States flag. He was also on the committee to design the Great Seal of the United States after designing the Great Seal of New Jersey in 1776 alongside Pierre Eugene du Simitiere.

During his long career, Hopkinson also wrote poems, songs, and pamphlets to support the cause for American independence. He was a harpsichord and organ player and composed hymns and psalms. Hopkinson is credited with the invention of the bellarmonic instrument in the 1780s, as well as being the first American-born composer to publish a secular song in 1759.

Hopkinson married Ann Borden on September 1, 1768; they would have five children: House of Representatives member and federal judge Joseph Hopkinson, Elizabeth Hopkinson Condy, Maria Hopkinson Smith, Anne Hopkinson Stewart, and Francis Hopkinson, Jr.

He died of complications from a seizure in 1791 at the age of 53 and is buried in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.

Collection Information

Physical description

12 items.


Purchased and accessioned, 1958 (1958 1361ms).

Early American History Note

This collection contains twelve poems by Hopkinson. They are: Poem Addressed to the Honourable the Lady President, vice President, Secretary of the Friendly Association; On Music, 1754; Verses inscribed to the officers of the 35th regiment; Song of the absent Lover; The Beau Directors solemn recantation to the ladies; The hoop Faction; A Song; Poem; The Medley; The Kirk's Room; Poem; Ode on the morning.

General note

Some of these poems are printed in Hopkinson's Miscellaneous Essays and Occasional Writings (Philadelphia, 1792).

Indexing Terms


  • Literature
  • Poems.


  • Literature, Arts, and Culture