Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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Mrs. Elizabeth Akers Allen, first known to the literary world under the nom de plume of Florence Percy, was born in Strong, Franklin County, Maine, October 9, 1832. In 1860, she married Paul Akers, the sculptor, who died within a year. She afterwards married E. M. Allen, of New York.
While in Italy, she sent to the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post her song of " Rock me to Sleep." It was published, and immediately became immensely popular. Within six years from that time, several persons had so identified themselves with the favorite as to imagine that it had been evolved from their own inner consciousness. The most per­sistent and furious of these claimants was one Hon. Mr. Ball, of New Jersey, who in a many-columned article in the New York Tribune, and in the most absurd pamphlet ever written, attempted to prove that that mother was his mother, and the lullaby was one she sang, or might have sung to him. In a witty and convincing reply in the New York Times of May 27,1867, the lady's claim is not so much insisted upon, which was deemed unneces­sary, as the Hon. Mr. Ball's "title to Mrs. Akers's mansion in the literary skies" is disposed of forever. The reply was written by William D. O'Connor, of Washington, who apprised Mrs. Allen of his friendly act only after the manuscript had been sent to the printer.
This preeminently womanly song has been set to music by many composers, and made merchandise by as many publishers; but its author has never received for it any compen­sation except the five dollars paid her by the journal in which it originally appeared.