Prior to 1898, the Southern Baptist Convention did not allow the Sunday School Board to publish books. That year the ban was lifted and in 1904 “the Board published its first hymnal, The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book.” (B.B. McKinney: A Shaping Force in Southern Protestant Music, dissertation of Terry C. Terry, 1981, p. 27)
I can’t say that the name Lansing Burrows (1843-1919) is a familiar name to church musicians. He was a pastor by calling serving eight Southern Baptist churches. As a Georgia boy, I find his Georgia connections of interest. First, he served the First Baptist Church of Augusta, GA as pastor during the years 1883 – 1899 and his last pastorate was at First Baptist Church in Americus, 1909-1916. From the historical perspective, it was while at Americus that Burrows served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in 1914, 1915, and 1916. J.B. Gambrell followed him as president.
Burrows was also the recording secretary for the SBC from 1881-1913 and denominational statistician from 1881-1919. For an additional Georgia connection he also served on the Board of Trustees of Mercer in 1890-1899 and 1912-1919 the year of his death. (Lansing Burrows, 1843-1919, Baptist Minister/Mercer University Trustee; The Lansing Burrows Papers AR26, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives; SBC Presidents, compiled by Andy Beachum and Rebecca Wolford, SBC Life
For our purposes however, Dr. Burrows served as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee from 1899-1909. This was between his Georgia pastorates. It was while serving in Nashville that the Sunday School Board selected him as the editor of The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book. In the Publisher’s Announcement in the front of the hymnal we find these words:
Dr. Lansing Burrows, who has had large experience as a pastor in different sections of the country, has done the editorial work with great ability…Publisher’s Announcement, The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book
The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book, 1904
When looking at The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book the first thing I notice are the front pages. In addition to the Title and Copyright pages are the Publisher’s Announcement, the Editor’s Preface, and an Index of Subjects. In regard to this Index, each subject has a distinct separator page with a scripture verse. The Index and Sections end with hymn numbered 577, “Immanuel’s Land.” Following this are several pieces of service music numbered 578-588 which complete the musical selections of the hymnal. (You will note that the Title and Copyright pages above are missing from my copy and reproduced from an internet copy at the Digital Library University of Missouri Baptist Hymn and Praise Book)
Although most of the hymns and songs include the words within the musical score, there are a few with only words and a meter given. There are also only a few with a musical score with additional verses printed underneath.
The contents of The Baptist Hyman and Praise Book are rounded out with a selection of indices at the end. We find an Index of Tunes, a Metrical Index, and an Index of First Lines.
It was also interesting to see the title stamped into the back cover.
The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book, 1904, one of many Southern Baptist hymnals. I’m glad we could take a look at this important historical hymnbook. Thanks again to the generosity of Bill Coen for his gift!
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