Sunday School
8 volumes

Sunday or Sabbath schools were first established in the United States in the 1790s. Though initially confined to the urban Northeast, they later spread throughout the country and were common across the South by the mid-nineteenth century. Sunday schools were organized by individual congregations, by networks of affiliated churches, and by members of urban neighborhoods who created “union” schools that crossed denominational lines. Teachers tended to adopt secular pedagogical models to teach religious study, exhortation, prayer, and class singing for a variety of ages. Whereas older students memorized and recited passages of scripture or a catechism, the youngest children usually learned metrical psalms or hymns. Students could earn premiums, like mugs or handkerchiefs decorated with hymn texts, when they advanced to a higher class or demonstrated mastery of the material. Though early Sunday schools also taught adult students, teachers and churches ultimately turned exclusively to the needs of children, creating a repertoire largely separate from “adult” church music and texts. Sunday school music was simple, often folk-like in character, limited in range, and rhythmically driven. Texts were often shorter and simpler than other hymns, presenting subjects more moral in character rather than explicitly religious. Though the simplicity of Sunday school texts continued to reflect their intended practitioner-audience of children, the musical accompaniment often existed in lively conversation with gospel music meant for adults.

—Erin Fulton

Beall's Gospel Songs No. 1

  • Author: B. B. Beall
  • Published: 1907
  • Publisher: B. B. Beall and Company
  • Publication City: Douglassville, Georgia
  • Added: April 26, 2020, 9:12 p.m.

Hall's Songs of Home

  • Author: J. H. Hall
  • Published: ca. 1890s
  • Publisher: J. H. Hall; printed by J. Frank Giles
  • Publication City: Harrisonburg, Virginia; Boston, Massachusetts
  • Added: Jan. 28, 2020, 4:06 p.m.

Polished Pearls

  • Author: T. J. Shelton and J. H. Rosecrans
  • Published: 1876
  • Publisher: Fillmore Brothers
  • Publication City: Cincinnati, Ohio; compiled in Arcola, Illinois
  • Added: Jan. 28, 2020, 4:46 p.m.

The Eureka Echoes

  • Author: Faculty of the Eureka Normal School of Music
  • Published: 1903
  • Publisher: Eureka Publishing Company
  • Publication City: South McAlester, Indian Territory (Oklahoma)
  • Added: April 25, 2020, 5:27 p.m.

The Hesperian Harp

  • Author: William Hauser
  • Published: 1848
  • Publisher: Printed by T. K. & P. G. Collins; stereotyped by L. Johnson & Company
  • Publication City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; compiled in Georgia (Savanna?)
  • Added: April 28, 2020, 4:31 p.m.

The Prize

  • Author: George Root
  • Published: 1870
  • Publisher: John Church & Company
  • Publication City: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Added: April 28, 2020, 5:06 p.m.

The Silver Trumpet

  • Author: James D. Vaughan
  • Published: 1908
  • Publisher: James D. Vaughan
  • Publication City: Lawrenceburg, Tennessee
  • Added: April 25, 2020, 2:14 a.m.

The Temple Star

  • Author: Aldine S. Kieffer and B. C. Unseld
  • Published: 1877
  • Publisher: Ruebush, Kieffer & Company
  • Publication City: Singers Glen, Virginia
  • Added: April 21, 2020, 4:50 p.m.