Joshua Leavitt

Short Name: Joshua Leavitt
Full Name: Leavitt, Joshua, 1794-1873
Birth Year: 1794
Death Year: 1873

Joshua Leavitt (September 8, 1794-Jan. 16,1873) was born in Heath, MA, earned a degree from Yale College, practiced law in Putney, VT, was graduated from Yale Seminary, was ordained and served as a Congregational minister at Stratford, CT for four years before he moved to New York City to serve as Secretary of the American Seamens’ Friend Society. He was for many years musical advisor to the most famous revivalist of the Second Great Awakening, Charles Grandison Finney. In 1831 he compiled and published The Christian Lyre, the first hymnal to print music (melody and bass) for every hymn. He was a spokesman for the Liberty Party and a campaigner for cheap postage. He was editor of many periodicals including The Emancipator, the New York Independent, the New York Evangelist, etc. He was first Secretary of the American Temperance Society and co-founder of the New York City Anti-Slavery Society. He aided a slave Basil Dorsey to escape from MD to MA and formed with Lewis Tappan and Simeon Jocelyn the Amistad Committee to raise funds for the defense of Amistad captives. On Wikipedia can be seen a letter of August 1862 to Lincoln signed by Leavitt, Henry Ward Beecher and other abolitionists requesting formation of black regiments in the Union Army.
Mary Louise VanDyke

Concerning publication dates of The Christian Lyre, Leavitt left a very useful description:
"The Christian Lyre was commenced in November, 1830, as a monthly repository of music and hymns, for social worship. Vol. I., containing six No's, or 216 pages, was completed the first of April, and Vol. II. the first of October, 1831. At that time, there had been published no less than Nine Editions of Vol. I., each edition consisting of 2000 copies." (Preface to 1837 edition of the Supplement). Apparently each monthly "number" was 36 pages, which means the first 72 pages were published in 1830, the rest in early 1831. Both Volume 2 and the Supplement date from 1831; all three were separately paginated, for a total of 310 tunes with words.

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