Now on view in the Reading Room of the STH Library is a new exhibit, “Celebrating Hymnic Anniversaries of 2012.” Drawing on the extensive hymnological collections in the Library’s research collections, this display showcases 130 items that call attention to significant persons and publications connected with the development of Christian congregational song. Focusing on twenty-five-year intervals over the past 450 years, this sample of printed music and related materials offers a remarkable survey of informative documents.
A few notable examples: the definitive Genevan and English psalters that both reached completion in 1562 are illustrated by (respectively) 1566 and 1578 printings; there is a copy of Ainsworth’s 1612 psalter (one of four in US libraries) that may have been brought to these shores on the Mayflower; the anonymous hymn text, “How firm a foundation,” appears here in its first printing; a facsimile of the music for “Silent night, holy night” shows how the original version was different from the way it is currently sung; a number of texts and tunes are represented in early and rare Boston printings.
As a seminary of the United Methodist Church, STH is glad to be able to demonstrate through this exhibit the poetic and musical gifts of members of the Wesley family, not only of John and Charles, but also of their father Samuel and of Charles’ son Samuel. The ongoing Methodist involvement in music as a means of nurture and witness is further demonstrated through various Methodist publications in other languages, including German, Danish, Spanish, and Welsh.
The exhibit can be seen whenever the STH Library is open. Please consult the schedule of Library hours on our website.