Samuel Augustus Ward

Born 28 December 1847. Died 28 September 1903
Samuel Augustus Ward
Samuel Augustus Ward

Samuel Augustus Ward Biography (Wikipedia)

Samuel Augustus Ward (December 28, 1848 – September 28, 1903) was an American organist and composer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of a shoemaker, he studied under several teachers in New York and became an organist at Grace Episcopal Church in his home town in 1880. He married Virginia Ward in 1871, with whom he had four daughters.

He is remembered for the 1882 tune "Materna", which he intended as a setting for the hymn "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem". This was published ten years later, in 1892. In 1903, after Ward had died, the tune was first combined by a publisher with the Katharine Lee Bates poem "America", itself first published in 1895, to create the patriotic song "America the Beautiful." The first book with the combination was published in 1910. Ward never met Bates.

Ward was the founder and first director of the still extant Orpheus Club of Newark, where he died on September 28, 1903. Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the same city, he was the last in an unbroken line of Samuel Wards, beginning with the Rhode Island Governor and Representative to the Continental Congress.[citation needed] Ward was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

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