Biography: 

George Moses Horton was born in slavery about 1797 on William Horton's tobacco plantation in Northampton Country, North Carolina. Growing up as a cow-hand in Chatham county, where his master moved, George educated himself to read scripture and to make poems. At 17 years old, he became the property of William's son James and was set to work at a horse-drawn plough.

Biography: 

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 29, 1809, Oliver Wendell Holmes proceeded to Phillips Academy and Harvard, from which he graduated in 1829. His first, most popular poem, written at 21, was "Old Ironsides." Like most of Holmes' poems, this was an occasional piece, prompted by some incident.

Biography: 

Sarah Josepha Buell was born October 24, 1788, in Newport, New Hampshire. Self-educated, at 18 she became a schoolteacher in Newport and worked there until 1813, when she married David Hale, a lawyer. At his death nine years later, she was a 34-year-old pregnant mother of four who nonetheless rose to become one of America's most successful women writers.

Biography: 

Stephen Foster was born July 4, 1826, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Allegheny Academy, Athens Academy, and Jefferson College. He became a full-time musician in 1850, working for and with Christy's Minstrels, Campbell Minstrels, and the New Orleans Serenaders. His songs made him famous with the public.

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