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Long-lost 'Happy Birthday' manuscript found at the University of Louisville

By Karen Butler
Long-lost 'Happy Birthday' manuscript found at the University of Louisville
Tai Shan the panda eyes his birthday cake at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, made from ice, bamboo, shredded beets and beet juice. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A librarian at Kentucky's University of Louisville has unearthed a sketchbook containing the only known manuscript of Mildred Hill's song "Good Morning to All."

The tune eventually evolved into America's traditional "Happy Birthday" song.

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Billboard magazine reported James Procell, the director of the school's Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library, recently discovered the misfiled manuscript inside a sketchbook donated decades ago to the university by a philanthropist.

The 1893 song, which Hill penned with her sister Patty, was discovered with a collection of her other papers and compositions.

"Happy Birthday" is currently at the center of a heated copyright debate. The song earns about $2 million a year in royalties for its disputed owner, Warner/Chappell Music, while many people argue it should be in the public domain and free to use as are other artistic works of similar age.

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