A. Merril Smoak, Jr., Methodist Hymnal Collection

The Hymn Book and Tunebook Collection of A. Merril Smoak, Jr., DWS.

Methodist Hymnals Pre-1850

Presented by Haaswurth Books


Babcock, Wm. R. Sacred Melodies: A Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, for the use of Families, Prayer Meetings, Class Meetings, and Private Circles. Danville, [NY]: A. R. Knox | Printed by Jas. T. Morton, Mt. Morris, 1845. First Edition. [9819]

Black leather with gilt title to front, edges worn, front joint weak, 9.5 x 7 cm (3 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches). Lacks the front free end papers. 128 pp., complete, worming to the margin of the last several leaves.  Good. Hardcover.

106 selections with an index; words only.

William Robinson Babcock (1814-1899), Methodist Episcopal minister, first converted among the Freewill Baptists, but united with the Methodists in 1822; ordained deacon in the Pittsburgh Conference in 1826, and Elder in 1828. In 1848 he declared his sympathy for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and, having secured a good reference from the Genesee Annual Conference, moved to [now West] Virginia and became Presiding Elder of the Parkersburgh District. He later ministered in Missouri, and is buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis. - findagrave dot com.


Hunter, William. Select Melodies; comprising the best of those Hymns and Spiritual Songs in common use, not to be found in the Standard Methodist Episcopal Hymn Book; as also, a number of Original Pieces. Cincinnati: Printed at the Methodist Book Concern | R. P. Thompson, Printer, 1850. [9853]

Brown leather binding with black leather spine title label, joints good, corners worn through, 12 x 7.5 cm (4 3/4 x 3 inches). Name & inscription in brown ink on front paste-down. 320 pp., complete, including 4 pp. of shape-note tunes.  Rear free end paper with hole; green & gold label with lion pasted to rear paste-down; the lion represents Great Britain and holds an orb with miniature royal standards. Some foxing, creased corners. Good. Hardcover.

Stereotyped by J. A. James, Cincinnati, Ohio.

"The following edition of this work has been re-arranged from the third (type) edition, with considerable labor and care. A great many hymns found not to be in common use, have been omitted, and new ones inserted in their stead. The book is almost a new work; and the compiler hopes that it will prove even more acceptable to the Singing Community than any of its predecessors." - Preface.

William Hunter (1811-1877), b. Balllymoney, Co. Atrim, Ireland; d. Ohio. Hunter was a Methodist minister, editor, hymn-writer, and for some years professor of Hebrew in Alleghany College. He is credited with writing 125 hymns, "some of these have been translated into various Indian languages.".- Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology.


Hymns for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church. New-York: Carlton & Porter, (1849). Revised Edition. [9842]

Full leather binding, no spine title label, joints fine, 16 x 10 cm (6 1/4 x 4 inches). A handsome binding with even wear. Title page & next two leaves supplied in facsimile from a smaller sized edition and laid in. Book begins at page 5 and includes all of the hymns. 5-739 pp., lacks the last several leaves of the index; staining in the indices.
 Poor. Hardcover.

This supplies all of the hymns of the 1849 Revised Edition.


Hymns for Sunday Schools, selected from various authors. Cincinnati: J. F. Wright and L. Swormstedt, For the Sunday School Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1844. [9827]

Leather spine with plain blue paper over card, binding is scuffed and worn yet with fine joints and tight. 11.5 x 7.5 cm (4 1/2 x 3 inches), 208 pp., includes index. Good. Hardcover.

264 hymns, words only. Includes the metre and the author, when known.


Mason, Thomas [compiler]. Zion's Songster; or, A Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, usually sung at Camp-Meetings, and also in Revivals of Religion. New-York: Harper & Brothers, 1840. Tenth Edition. Improved and Enlarged. [9865]

Full sheep with red leather spine title label, light wear with small dig to top joint, joints otherwise fine, 11 x 7 cm (4 1/4 x 2 3/4 inches). Wood engraving of "View of Haverstraw Camp Meeting, Sept. 1830" as frontispiece. Frontispiece, title page & copyright leaf, (iii)-viii, (5)-348 pp., complete, tight. Very good. Full leather.

Includes a 2-page article in the preliminaries entitled, Origin of Camp Meetings, taken from the Methodist Magazine, vols. 2 & 4. It begins with the "great revival of religion in Kentucky and Tennessee, in the year 1799." It mentions John and William M'Gee, John A. Granade and Caleb I. Tyler.

The 301 hymns are arranged under the following heads: Awakening and Inviting, Penitential, Crucifixion, Prayer, Rejoicing, Trusting in Providence, Christian Warfare, Christian Fellowship, Prospect of Heaven, Judgment, Pastoral, Morning, Farewell, and Additional Hymns.

Rev. Thomas Mason (1769-1851), b. South Carolina; for many years an assistant agent and book publisher for the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was first appointed Assistant Book Agent of the Methodist Book Concern at the 1816 General Conference, and in 1819 was elected the corresponding secretary of the newly-founded Missionary Society of the New York Conference. This Society supported the ministry of James B. Finley in Ohio.

In 1826 Mason sent 100 copies of his new Zion's Songster to Finley to sell. "I have usually put them at 25 pr. ct discount to the preachers on Commission or 33 1/3 for cash. I have put the above at the latter rate which will reward you for the trouble of sales if you can dispose of them shortly. You will please do the best that you can with them and remit me the money or to the the Agents for me as soon as convenient. It may be they will pave the way for som of another Edition should I print One." - Mason, Thomas, "Letter from Thomas Mason to James B. Finley" (1826), Finley Letters. 712. at digitalcommons, Ohio Wesleyan University online.


May, Hiram. The Harp: being a collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, adapted to all purposes of Social and Religious Worship. Perry, [NY]: American Citizen Office, 1840. [9852]

Full leather binding with gilt border, designs to spine with title, "Miss C. May" in gilt to front. Green endpapers; 13.5 x 8.5 cm (5 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches). (i)-xii, (13)-354, 357-360. Lacking one leaf, pp. 355-366; by appearances it was likely never bound in. Very good. Full leather.

272 selections, words only; table of contents at front.

Hiram May (1797-1876), b. Cherry Valley, NY; d. Lancaster, NY. May was a Methodist minister who rode the circuit in far northern New York in the Malone area, beginning in the 1820's. His ministry eventually extended over portions of northern and western New York State, and he is credited as the spark for many revivals in those areas.

"Brother May had one remarkable gift that gave him access to men's hearts, whether they would or not - his power of song. He gathered together a large number of uncommon hymns, not so much noted for their poetry as for their directness of appeal to the conscience and sensibilities; (these were published in 1828 in a volume entitled 'The Harp,') which he sung as simple solos, and so doing he sang the gospel with such effect as to break down the hardest hearts." - Genesee Conference Journal, 1877.


The Methodist Pocket Hymn-Book, revised and improved, designed as a Constant Companion for The Pious of all Denominations; collected from various authors. New-York: Published by E. Cooper & J. Wilson, for the Methodist Connection in the United States | Robinson & Little, Printers, 1807. Thirty-third Edition. [9856]

Leather over card, about half of the leather worn away, joints cracked, 13.3 x 8 cm (5 1/4 x 3 inches). Lacks all free end papers. (i)-v, (1), (7)-148, 153- 278, 287-290 [of 293]; ends with Hymn CCCXVI. Shaken, leaves are worn, stained, some torn, two leaves torn with loss. Defective: lacking 2 center leaves and 2 final leaves. Poor. Hardcover.

AI 13075.

With an undated (probably early 20th century) Central N. Y. Chautauqua Assembly, Assembly Park, N. Y. Day Ticket laid in.


Meriam, Joseph [compiler]. The Wesleyan Camp-Meeting Hymn-Book, for the use of those who Love our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wendell, Mass.: Printed by J. Metcalf, 1829. Fourth Edition. [9831]

Full leather, crude sewn repair to front joint, front board weakly attached, 13.5 x 7.2 cm (5 1/4 x 3 inches). Lacks front and back free end papers. First several leaves tattered, title page with blue ink on verso bleeding through to recto, old paste blotches on first several leaves, tp is partly stuck to first page of hymns. Incomplete. lacking 5 leaves. Present are (1)-4, 13-14, 17-144. Many leaves with tattered edges; the book is badly shaken with some leaves detached. Rear paste-down with partly legible writing, "Book Bessie F. Simpson, born March 2, 1790, Died June 18." Poor.

102 hymns, if complete. Words only.


Myers, Peter D. [compiler]. The Zion Songster: A Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, generally sung at Camp and Prayer Meetings, and in Revivals of Religion. New York: M'Elrath, Bangs, & Herbert, 1833. Twentieth Edition. [9933]

Spine sometime covered in checked cloth, boards attached to cloth, end paper hinges torn. 10.3 x 6.5 cm (4 1/8 x 2 1/2 inches). Extra engraved title page showing singing angels with harp. 352 pp., complete, some foxing & stains, text block tight. Fair. Full leather.

342 selections, words only.

A strong point of interest in this hymnal is the inclusion of Amazing Grace with six verses, pp. 257-258.

The compiler, Peter D. Myers, remains obscure. It appears that he was Methodist and a supporter of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He published several editions of this Songster, as well as a book on the depravity of man.

[Peaslee, Reuben] A Choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs; designed to aid in the Devotions of Prayer, Conference, and Camp-Meetings. Concord, [NH]: Printed by Isaac Hill, 1828. [8498]

Full worn leather binding, 3 x 5 1/4 inches, front end paper hinge open, 168 pp., lacks leaf pp. 87-88. Old stains, dark towards the end; one rear blank with large hole, some edge-tattering to the pages. Good. Full leather.

WorldCat 1 location, AAS.   Several editions were printed at various places between 1825 and 1830.

One hymn is "In memory of the Rev. E. R. Sabin". We believe this to be Rev. Elijah Robinson Sabin (1776-1818), b. Tolland, Connecticut; d. Augusta, Georgia. Sabin was a Methodist minister who served as the Presiding Elder of the Vermont and Rhode Island Districts, and was previous to those appointments a backwoods preacher in the then wild northern portions of Vermont and New Hampshire. He was also pastor of a church in Boston, and at Penobscot, Maine.

Benson, in his The English Hymn: Its Development and Use in Worship, has the later edition in his chapter The Hymnody of American Methodism. "Also for New England use was A choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, designed to aid in the devotions of prayer, conference, and camp meetings (Windsor, Vt,. 1836)."

127 hymns with index, no music. Some of an ecstatic nature.

Burst, ye emerald gates, and bring
To my enraptured vision,
All the extatic [sic] joys that spring
Round the bright elysian:
Lo! we lift our longing eyes,
Break, ye intervening skies;
Sons of righteousness, arise,
Ope the gates of paradise. - Hymn 44.

It also includes a version of the "Indian Hymn," attributed to William Ahes at hymnary.org, and by others to the Pequot author William Apess.  It was actually written by Thomas Daniel Cowdell (1769-1833), a London-born Methodist who emigrated to Halifax in 1789.  It appeared first in the Nova Scotia Minstrel (1811) and became a popular Methodist hymn.1  The text in this hymnal differs from that at hymnary.  The complete text is (p. 154):

In de dark wood, no, Indian nigh,
Den me look Heaven, and send up cry,
Upon my knee so low;
Den God on high in shining place,
See me in night wid teary face,
De priest he tell me so.

He send he angel take me care,
He come heself to hear me prayer,
If Indian heart do pray;
He see me now, he know me here,
He say, poor Indian, neher fear,
Me wid you night and day.

So me lub God wid inside heart,
He fight for me, he take um part,
He save um life before;
God lub poor Indian in de wood,
Den me lub God, and dat be good
Me pray him two times more.

Hymnary online does not have a record of this earlier 1828 edition. They record an 1836 edition (Windsor, VT) with the same title. There are unique hymns found only in this hymnal, according to the Hymnary database. They are homely and primitive, but it is easy to imagine a camp-meeting throng singing them. One such is Hymn 55; the first two stanzas read:

We've found the rock the travellers cried,
O Halle Hallelujah,
The stone that all the prophets tried;
O Halle Hallelujah,
Come children, drink the balmy dew,
O Halle Hallelujah,
'Twas Christ who shed his blood for you,
O Glory Hallelujah.

This costly mixture cures the soul,
Which sin and guilt had made so foul;
O that you would believe in God,
And wash in Christ's most precious blood.

Reuben Peaslee (1777-1840), b. & d. at Plaistow, New Hampshire. Rev. Peaslee was a Methodist minister and author of a tract about his life and ministry.

The printer, Isaac Hill (1788-1851), b. West Cambridge, Massachusetts; d. Washington, DC. At Concord, NH, he was the owner and editor of the New Hampshire Patriot (1809-29) and served as clerk of the New Hampshire State Senate (1819 & 1825). He was a Democrat-Republican, later a Jacksonian Democrat, and served several terms as a New Hampshire State Senator. His support for Andrew Jackson in 1828 earned him the post in the United States Treasury office, and he became a friend and confidant of the President, and was considered a member of his "Kitchen Cabinet." He was elected to the United States Senate (1831-1836), and then won two terms as governor of New Hampshire (1836-1839).

1. https://www.carpelibrumbooks.com/not-william-apess-hymn-the-indians-prayer-ca-1835


Peaslee, Reuben. A Choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs; designed to aid in the Devotions of Prayer, Conference, and Camp Meetings. Haverhill, Mass.: Published by James Gale | A. W. Thayer, Printer, 1829. [9874]

Leather spine, paper over card with most of the paper now gone, 12.3 x 7 cm (4 7/8 x 2 3/4 inches). Lacks the front free end papers. 179 pp., text leaves complete, 3 leaves with edge chip affecting a few letters; title page with diagonal tear. Good. Hardcover.


Shaw, S. B. Spiritual Hymns: Selected and Arranged by S. B. Shaw, Holiness Evangelist. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Office of The Michigan Holiness Record, 1884. Plain cream wrapper, "O. S. Grant, Woodland, Mich." stamped in ink on front, bound by two staples. 13 cm (5 1/8 x 3 1/2 inches). 112 clean pp., complete text.  Good. Pamphlet.

We are unable to locate any other copy. An uncommon item sold at and used at Shaw's holiness meetings.

Solomon Benjamin Shaw (1854-1941), pastor, evangelist, editor and publisher; served churches in the Methodist Episcopal, Wesleyan Methodist, Free Methodist, and Primitive Holiness Mission denominations. He was president of the Michigan Holiness Association and attended the General Holiness Assemblies of 1885 & 1901.

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