History of The Hymn Society


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  • Gospel Pearls
  • Ninde, The Story of the American Hymn
  • Pratt, The Music of the Pilgrims 



  • The Hymn Society founded; first meeting January 19
  • First search, for a tune to set Farrington, “I know not how that Bethlehem’s Babe”



  • Chisholm, “Great is thy faithfulness”; Runyan, FAITHFULNESS



  • Baptist Standard Hymnal 
  • Reeves, The Hymn as Literature
  • First public meeting, March 31, Chantry of Grace Episcopal Church; 75 present
  • Louis F. Benson, Henry Burton, and Frank Mason North named first Honorary Members
  • THS begins distribution of a Bulletin prepared by Perkins
  • Founder Augustus S. Newman donates his library



  • Johnson, Johnson, and Brown, The Book of American Negro Spirituals 



  • New Baptist Hymnal
  • Katharine Lee Bates and John Finley Williamson named Honorary Members
  • THS petitions Congress to make “O beautiful for spacious skies” the national hymn



  • Henry van Dyke named Honorary Member
  • THS searches for “a hymn expressing the missionary enterprise of today”; the winning hymn is Tweedy, “Eternal God, whose power upholds”

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  • Fosdick, “God of grace and God of glory”
  • The Hymnary of the United Church of Canada
  • Ryden, The Story of Our Hymns
  • Papers of The Hymn Society I, Benson, “The Hymns of John Bunyan”



  • “The Star-Spangled Banner” becomes the national anthem of the United States



  • Dorsey, “Precious Lord, take my hand”



  • The Hymnal
  • THS holds meeting at Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago



  • Psalter Hymnal 



  • The Methodist Hymnal
  • The Hymn Society of Philadelphia founded



  • Hymns of Universal Praise
  • Covert and Laufer, Handbook to The Hymnal
  • The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland founded
  • THS formally named The Hymn Society of America
  • The Diapason begins a regular column supplied by THS, which has designated the periodical as its “official organ”



  • The New Church Hymnal
  • HSGBI issues first Bulletin
  • British and American hymn societies begin communication about a supplement, or successor, to Julian’s Dictionary 



  • The Book of Common Praise (Revised 1938)
  • THS incorporated

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  • Broadman Hymnal
  • Foote, Three Centuries of American Hymnody 



  • Christian Worship: A Hymnal
  • The Church Hymnal [Seventh-day Adventists]
  • The Hymnal [Evangelical and Reformed]
  • The Lutheran Hymnal
  • Founder Emily S. Perkins dies



  • Polack, The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal
  • William Walker Rockwell named first Fellow
  • Reginald L. McAll named first Executive Secretary



  • The Hymnal 1940 



  • Harry T. Burleigh named Fellow



  • Clarence Dickinson and Helen Dickinson named Fellows



  • World Council of Churches founded
  • Deane Edwards begins 21-year service as President



  • Choristers Guild founded
  • [Ellinwood], The Hymnal 1940 Companion (revised in 1951 and 1956)
  • Hostetler, Handbook to The Mennonite Hymnary
  • The Hymn begins publication
  • Office established in United Charities Building, 297 Fourth Avenue North, New York City

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  • National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America founded
  • Bailey, The Gospel in Hymns
  • First general meeting outside New York held in Cleveland with MTNA, enabled by Ohio Chapter
  • Chapter forms at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary



  • McAll visits HSGBI to discuss resumption of work on Julian replacement



  • Hauessler, The Story of Our Hymns
  • Chapter forms in Los Angeles
  • Three-day meeting, May 18-20, celebrates Society’s 30th anniversary



  • Harkness, “Hope of the world! thou Christ of great compassion”



  • Office moves to National Arts Club building,119 East 19th Street, New York City



  • The Hymnbook [Presbyterian and Reformed]
  • People’s Hymnal
  • 14 new and developing chapters
  • Leonard Ellinwood succeeds Henry Wilder Foote as Chairman of THS committee on replacement for Julian’s Dictionary 



  • Baptist Hymnal
  • HSGBI approves concept of American dictionary of hymnology



  • Worship and Service Hymnal
  • McCutchan, Hymn Tune Names 



  • Pilgrim Hymnal
  • Service Book and Hymnal



  • American Choral Directors Association founded
  • Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Hymnologie / International Society for Hymnological Studies established
  • Caroline Bird Parker is the last of Founders to die
  • Members in all 50 states, in all but 1 Canadian province, and in 24 other countries

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  • Sydnor, The Hymn and Congregational Singing
  • Office moves to The Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Drive, NYC
  • THS “has published exactly 100 hymns”



  • International Hymnological Conference
  • First annual meeting outside New York in Philadelphia, celebrating chapter’s 10th anniversary
  • Georgia chapter organizes



  • Three-day meeting, May 4-6, celebrates 40th anniversary of founding
  • Reid, Sing with Spirit and Understanding: The Story of the Hymn Society of America 



  • East Asian Christian Conference Hymnal
  • Reynolds, A Survey of Christian Hymnody (later editions with Price and Music)



  • People’s Mass Book
  • Reynolds, Hymns of Our Faith 



  • Kaan, “For the healing of the nations”
  • Lovelace, The Anatomy of Hymnody 



  • The Methodist Hymnal [titled The Book of Hymns in 1970]
  • Scholtes, “We are one in the Spirit”



  • Cymdeithas Emynau Cymru (Welsh Hymn Society) founded
  • New Orleans chapter forms



  • Vajda, “Now the silence now the peace,”
  • Schalk, Waters, “Herald, sound the note of judgment”
  • Wren, “Christ is alive! Let Christians sing”
  • Consultation on Ecumenical Hymnody launched
  • Louisville chapter forms



  • The Mennonite Hymnal 

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  • Douroux, “Give me a clean heart”
  • Hymnbook for Christian Worship 



  • Fishel, “Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks,” ALLELUIA NO. 1
  • Lafferty, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”
  • The Hymn Book [Canadian Anglican and United Church]
  • Worship (2nd edition, 1975)
  • Two-day annual meeting in Washington, May 7-8; 75 attend



  • The Worshipbook 
  • Cone, The Spirituals and the Blues 
  • Reid, Continuing Sing with Spirit and Understanding: The Story of the Hymn Society of America, 1962-1972 
  • Contests and searches have produced more than 225 hymns



  • Hopson, MERLE’S TUNE
  • The Hymnal of the Baptist Federation of Canada 



  • Christian Conference of Asia Hymnal 
  • The Hymnal of the United Church of Christ



  • Baptist Hymnal
  • Ohio Chapter hosts National Festival, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio
  • Ralph Mortensen and Jan Bender named Fellows; “There are now eleven living Fellows of the Hymn Society of America.”



  • THS reorganizes
  • W. Thomas Smith named first Executive Director
  • Office moves to Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio



  • Australian Hymn Book 
  • Ecumenical Praise 
  • The New National Baptist Hymnal 
  • Consultation on Ecumenical Hymnody recommends 227 hymns for ecumenical use
  • The Stanza first published in February
  • Music: The AGO and RCCO Magazine (later, The American Organist ) begins inclusion of a column provided by THS



  • Lutheran Book of Worship 



  • Routley, An English-Speaking Hymnal Guide
  • Routley, A Panorama of Christian Hymnody

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  • Eskew and McElrath, Sing with Understanding
  • Hope Publishing Company becomes copyright administrator for THS
  • Gracia Grindal and Alice Parker lead first Hymn Writing Workshop



  • Routley, The Music of Christian Hymns
  • Songs of Zion
  • Lift Every Voice and Sing (second volume, 1993)
  • Stulken, Hymnal Companion to The Lutheran Book of Worship
  • First joint conference with The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Internationle Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Hymnologie in Oxford, England
  • First tour, to joint conference in Oxford



  • Hymns for Today’s Church (2nd edition, 1987)
  • Lutheran Worship
  • The New National Baptist Hymnal
  • Yes, Lord!
  • Van Burklalow, “60 Years of the Hymn Society of America: 1922-1982,” The Hymn, January



  • Hymns from the Four Winds 
  • Sydnor, Hymns: A Congregational Study
  • Dictionary of American Hymnology: First Line Index
  • Bibliography of American Hymnals
  • Annual conference held jointly with Experience



  • A. M. E. C. Bicentennial Hymnal
  • Crawford, The Core Repertory of Early American Psalmody
  • Schilling, The Faith We Sing
  • Office moves to Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
  • Dictionary of American Hymnology Project materials move to Oberlin, Ohio



  • The Hymnal 1982
  • THS hosts the HSGBI and IAH for a joint conference at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania



  • The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration
  • Worship (3rd edition)
  • Book service begins
  • First students on scholarship attend annual conference



  • Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd edition, 2012)
  • Psalter Hymnal
  • Songs for a Gospel People
  • Wild Goose Songs 1 (later titled Heaven Shall Not Wait)
  • Lovelace, Hymn Notes for Church Bulletins 



  • Gather
  • Sing Alleluia
  • Christian Copyright Licensing International begins operation



  • Flor y Canto (2nd edition, 2001; 3rd edition, 2011)
  • El Pueblo de Dios Canta
  • Songs of Rejoicing
  • The United Methodist Hymnal
  • The Hymn Society of America becomes The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada
  • John Ferguson coordinates first workshop in hymn playing and improvisation

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  • International Songbook
  • The Presbyterian Hymnal
  • The Worshiping Church 
  • Glover, The Hymnal 1982 Companion 
  • Emily R. Brink becomes the first female President of The Hymn Society



  • The Baptist Hymnal
  • Hymnal Supplement 1991
  • Libro de Liturgia y Cantico
  • Songs and Prayers from Taizé
  • Acoustics for Liturgy; A Collection of Articles of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada
  • The Hymn Society provides a toll-free number: 1-800-THE-HYMN
  • Joint conference in Louvain, Belgium



  • Hymnal: A Worship Book
  • Voices
  • Adams, Handbook to The Baptist Hymnal
  • Precht, Lutheran Worship Hymnal Companion
  • Spencer, Black Hymnody
  • Holding in Trust: Hymns of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada
  • George R. Black becomes the first Canadian President of The Hymn Society



  • Zschech, “Shout to the Lord”
  • Costen, African-American Christian Worship
  • McKim, The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion
  • Young, Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal
  • Joint conference with the Canadian Liturgical Society



  • Catholic Book of Worship III
  • New Songs of Rejoicing
  • Amazing Grace: Hymn Texts for Devotional Use 



  • Chalice Hymnal
  • Global Songs–Local Voices
  • Moravian Book of Worship
  • The New Century Hymnal
  • Boyer, How Sweet the Sound
  • Joint conference with Choristers Guild



  • The A. M. E. Zion Bicentennial Hymnal
  • Global Praise 1 (2 in 2000; 3 in 2004)
  • Mil Voces para Celebrar
  • Thuma Mina
  • Voices United
  • Cyber Hymnal founded
  • The Book of Psalms 
  • Mitchell-Wallace, The Art and Craft of Playing Hymns, released on VHS
  • Hugh T. McElrath Fund for Hymnological Research established
  • W. Thomas Smith retires and Carl P. Daw, Jr., named Executive Director
  • Office moves to Boston University School of Theology



    • The Book of Praise
    • Unisono
    • Wonder, Love, and Praise
    • Watson, The English Hymn
    • McKellar, “A History of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, 1922-1997,” The Hymn, July 1997
    • Joint conference in York



    • Africa Praise Songbook
    • Common Ground
    • Common Praise [Canadian Anglican]
    • El Himnario
    • Sing Justice! Do Justice!
    • Brink and Polman, Psalter Hymn Handbook
    • Forman, The New Century Hymnal Companion
    • Temperly and others, The Hymn Tune Index
    • Wasson, Hymntune Index and Related Hymn Materials 



    • This Far by Faith
    • Together in Song
    • Website established
    • Annual Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, focuses on global hymnody
    • Patrick Matsikenyiri and Pablo Sosa named Honorary Members

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    • The Faith We Sing
    • Sound the Bamboo
    • Bell, The Singing Thing
    • Wren, Praying Twice



    • Getty and Townend, “In Christ alone”
    • African-American Heritage Hymnal
    • Hymns for the Gospels
    • Worship and Rejoice
    • Music, Christian Hymnody in Twentieth-Century Britain and America
    • Temperly and others, The Hymn Tune Index online
    • Hymn Society in Japan founded



    • Songs of Remembrance



    • Hawn, Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally
    • Schneider, Hymnal Collections of North America
    • Watson, An Annotated Anthology of Hymns
    • Dictionary of North American Hymnology released on CD-ROM
    • THS hosts international conference in Halifax
    • George Black Memorial Scholarship established



    • Costen, The Music of African-American Worship



    • Frank, Companion to the Moravian Book of Worship
    • Routley-Cutts, An English-Speaking Hymnal Guide
    • Routley-Richardson, A Panorama of Christian Hymnody
    • Westermeyer, Let the People Sing: Hymn Tunes in Perspective



    • Evangelical Lutheran Worship
    • Hymns of Universal Praise
    • Lutheran Service Book
    • Kimbrough, ed., Music and Mission: Toward a Theology and Practice of Global Song



    • Hymns for a Pilgrim People
    • Zion Still Sings
    • Ruff, Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform
    • Hymnary.org begins



    • Baptist Hymnal
    • Music and Richardson, I Will Sing the Wondrous Story



    • Hsieh, A History of Chinese Christian Hymnody
    • Dictionary of North American Hymnology merged with hymnary.org
    • Carl P. Daw, Jr., retires as Executive Director
    • Deborah Carlton Loftis named Executive Director
    • Office moves to Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
    • IAH hosts international conference in Opole, Poland

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    • The Roman Missal revised
    • Celebrating Grace Hymnal
    • Steel and Hulan, Makers of the Sacred Harp
    • Westermeyer, Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship



    • Total Praise
    • Worship (4th edition)
    • Loh, Hymnal Companion to Sound the Bamboo



    • Psalms for All Seasons



    • Community of Christ Sings
    • Glory to God
    • Lift up Your Hearts
    • Oramos Cantando / We Pray in Song
    • Hawn, ed., New Songs of Celebration Render
    • Watson and others, Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology



    • One in Faith
    • Budwey, Sing of Mary
    • “Lifting Hearts, Joining Hands, Raising Voices” campaign to increase endowment begins



    • Gray, Hermeneutics of Hymnody
    • Brian Hehn named Director of the Center for Congregational Song; Executive Director becomes part-time to enable enlargement of staff
    • Hymns in Time of Crisis published online



    • Ritual Song (second edition)
    • Daw, Glory to God: A Companion
    • Guenther, In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals



    • Kubicki, The Song of the Singing Assembly
    • Singing Welcome
    • Deborah Carlton Loftis retired as Executive Director
    • Jan Kraybill named Executive Director
    • Center for Congregational Song launched in Dallas



    • One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
    • Ingalls, Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Forms
    • Evangelical Community
    • Phillips, The Hymnal: A Reading History
    • Jan Kraybill resigns as Executive Director
    • J. Michael McMahon named Executive Director



    • Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy
    • Herl and others, Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns
    • Lamport and others, Hymns and Hymnody: Historical and Theological Introductions

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    • World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
    • Voices Together
    • Songs for the Holy Other
    • Annual conference held virtually



    • Ruth and Lim, A History of Contemporary Praise and Worship
    • Annual conference held virtually