Henry Clay Work, born on October 1, 1832, grew up in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of an active opponent of slavery, who helped thousands of slaves to escape north. Work took employment as a printer in Chicago in 1854, but in 1853, 1876-77, and 1882-83, Work wrote 75 songs, at first encouraged by the minstrel E. P. Christy, and then under contract to Root and Cady, music publishers.

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