Praise and Thanks, a Hymn Book for the Young People's Christian Union of the Universalist Church, by Grace F. White

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This Hymn book carries a copyright date on the first page of 1903, then on the 2nd page we have 1895. The preface that follows, written by Grace F. White, is from 1895.

The desire of the Publishing House has been to combine in PRAISE AND THANKS, convenience in size, reasonableness in price, and a sufficient number and variety of hymns to make a book available and satisfactory for our YOUNG PEOPLE'S CHRISTIAN UNION. This desire we feel has been met in the book now issued. If, in years to come, there should be an emphatic call for another volume, similar in plan and purpose, the Publishing House would consider the publication of PRAISE AND THANKS, number two.

We count ourselves happy in this opporunity of publicly expressing our thanks to the following friends for assistance cheerfully and generously rendered: to Mr. Leo R. Lewis, to whose supervision has been submitted all contributions of original music; to Mr. Flint M. Bissell for information as to authorship of hymns; to Rev. Messrs. E. J. Felt, C. R. Tenney, L. E. Pease and L. Weston Attwood, for introductory services and prayers; for cordial permission accorded us by Rev. Drs Edwin P. Parker and J. E. Rankin and Rev. Theodore C. Williams, for use of their compositions. We appreciate also the interest of our young people evidenced in their preparation and contribution of music and words for the completion of the book.

That these hymns may sing themselves into the hearts of our young people, and that the sentiments therein expressed may be manifested in nobler and more truly Christian lives is the sincere wish of the Editor,

GRACE F. White

Grace F. White was also the editor of the journal of the Y.P.C.U. for at least the years 1900 thru 1902.

The first hymn of the book is "Praise the Lord, Ye Heaven's Adore Him", set to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". This is a hymn of unknown origin found in Psalms, Hymns, and Anthems of the Foundling Hospital, London, 1796. It had been initially set to Franz Joseph Haydn's "Austrian Hymn", but states that as this piece of Haydn's became associated with Hitler, the text was often instead coupled with the hymn tune "Hyfrydol", written by Rowland H. Prichard (not a Universalist) in 1830.

The reason I go into this is for those who may not be aware of the music to which the lyrics for Blue Boat Home are set.

Hyfrydol. Of course, Hyfrydol has been used as the tune for many hymns, but I found it a little amusing that the song book would open with this hymn, often set to Hyfrydol, when Blue Boat Home is a UUA hymn. Searching the YPCU hymn book gives no results for Hyfrydol or Prichard so it was either not a popular tune for either Grace or the Universalists.

Somewhat curiously, while looking about websites for information on Hyfrydol, I saw a Methodist church giving Hyfrydol as "youth music", rather than the work of an "establishment" church musician, as it was composed by Prichard before he was 20 years of age.

In fact, Cyfaill Y Cantorion (The Singer's Friend), the Welsh songbook of Prichard's in which Hyfrydol first appeared in 1844, was written "for the use of the Sunday Schools, to wean them from 'empty and defiling songs' to those that are devotional and moral."

The Google volume contains both Praise and Thanks No.1 and Praise and Thanks No. 2, the second book copyrighted 1903, the songs therein given as drawn from the Universalist Church's Church Harmonies, New and Old. Acknowledgements given include the Congregational S. S. and Publishing Society, the Unitarian S.S. Society, and the United Society of Christian Endeavor, which was a non-denominational youth group that had preceded YPCU. So it seems there were two hymn books, the first published in 1895 and then republished again in 1903 along with the second.

The second book includes an abridged version of the Universalist Catechism which, in a few short decades, would be alien to UU youth.

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