Kirkpatrick, William J(ames)
- Mel R. Wilhoit
(b Duncannon, PA, Feb 27, 1838; d Germantown, PA, Sept 20, 1921). American compiler of Sunday-school and gospel hymnbooks, composer of hymns and teacher. He worked as a music teacher in the Philadelphia area, where he became associated with a number of Methodist churches.
His own musical style reflected the developing gospel hymn, which he helped to establish and popularize. In 1878 he joined forces with John R. Sweney, and the two men compiled about 50 songbooks and collections: ‘Sweney and Kirkpatrick’ became almost a trademark, and sales of their books ran into millions. They collaborated with the leading poets of gospel hymnody, and published nearly 1000 of Fanny Crosby’s hymns alone. Kirkpatrick’s collections – he produced about 50 further items after Sweney’s death – were used in revivals and camp meetings, such as the Methodist gatherings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and many of his more animated tunes, for example, that of ...