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Laurie J. Sampsel

(b Cheshire, CT, Aug 29, 1772; d Argyle, NY, April 1850). American psalmodist and singing master, brother to the engraver Amos Doolittle. Eliakim moved to Hampton, New York, around 1800. There he married Hasadiah Fuller in 1811, and the couple had six children. He also lived in Poultney and Pawlet, Vermont, where he taught singing schools. A Congregationalist, Doolittle is remembered primarily for his 45 sacred vocal works. He composed in every genre common during the period, with the exception of the set piece. His most frequently reprinted pieces were his fuging tunes, and his “Exhortation” appeared in print over 40 times by 1820. Doolittle was talented at musically depicting the meaning and mood of the texts he set. Most of his music was published in his own tunebook, The Psalm Singer’s Companion (New Haven, CT, 1806). He also composed a secular tune, “The Hornet Stung the Peacock,” about a naval battle during the War of ...

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Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

[William J. ]

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...

Article

Paul C. Echols

revised by Esther R. Crookshank

(b New York, NY, March 8, 1839; d Poland Springs, ME, July 10, 1909). American philanthropist, activist, composer, and hymnal compiler. She was the daughter of lay Methodist evangelists Phoebe Palmer (1807–74), considered the founder of the American Holiness movement, and medical doctor Walter Palmer. The younger Phoebe began composing hymns and songs as a child; two of her earliest tunes, set to hymn texts by her mother, were published in Joseph Hillman’s revival song collection, The Revivalist (1868). At 16 she married Joseph F. Knapp, later founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York. As a wealthy society woman in New York, she entertained dignitaries, including four American presidents, at evening musicales held regularly in her home; a trained singer, she often performed at these events. She also hosted religious leaders, social reformers including Harriet Beecher Stowe, and female gospel hymn writers such as Fanny Crosby, with whom she formed a close friendship. In the late 1860s, Knapp wrote her most successful piece, the tune “Assurance,” to Crosby’s text “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” It was circulated internationally after Ira D. Sankey included it in ...

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