James Ryder Randall was an American journalist and poet, born in Baltimore. He studied at Georgetown University failing to graduate. Despite this he was offered the chair of English literature at Poydras College in Pointe-Coupee, Louisiana after travelling in South America and the West Indies. Whilst teaching there and on hearing that Union troops had been fired on by angry citizens in Baltimore. [Abraham Lincoln had ordered General Benjamin Butler to occupy the Naval Academy at Annapolis with three regiments of union troops in order to protect Washington] This led him to believe that Maryland was about to join the Confederate cause and on learning that a classmate had been wounded, he immediately wrote his famous poem Maryland, my Maryland
, which was published in the New Orleans "Sunday Delta" April 26, 1861. His poem was set to the old German traditional melody of "Lauriger Horatius" ("O, Tannenbaum"), the song achieving wide popularity in Maryland and throughout the South. Eventually Maryland, My Maryland
was adopted as the State song of Maryland in 1939.
When the American Civil War ended Randall became a journalist holding many positions, eventually becoming the Washington correspondent for the Augusta "Chronicle". Randall wrote several other war poems including "The Gallant Pelham" and "The Sentinel" but "Maryland, My Maryland" remains his best-known work.
For data housekeeping purposes he is listed in these webpages as a one-off composer.
Own Library :
||My Maryland (1861) Maryland