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Benjamin Russel Hanby

Benjamin Russell Hanby (July 22, 1833 – March 16, 1867), also given as Benjamin Russel Hanby, was an American composer, educator, and pastor who wrote approximately 80 songs. The most famous are "Darling Nelly Gray", the Christmas songs "Up on the House Top", "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas", and the hymn "Who Is He In Yonder Stall?".

Hanby was born in Rushville, Ohio. He moved to Westerville, Ohio in 1849, at the age of sixteen, to enroll at Otterbein University. He was involved in the Underground Railroad with his father, Bishop William Hanby.

Hanby composed "Darling Nelly Gray" in 1856 in what is now a national historical site, the Hanby House, located at the corner of Grove and Main Streets (moved in the 1930s to 160 West Main Street) in Westerville, adjacent to the campus of Otterbein University. After graduation in 1858, Hanby briefly taught school and then became a minister in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. In 1860, he became principal of Seven Mile Academy in Seven Mile, Ohio.

In 1864, Hanby was minister of a church in New Paris, Ohio, but by Christmas 1864, he was no longer working as a pastor, but operating a singing school in New Paris. He composed "Up On The Housetop" as a Christmas sing-along. It was originally titled Santa Claus. The following year, Chicago publisher George Frederick Root published "Up On The Housetop" and brought Hanby to Chicago to pursue other publishing ventures.

At age 33, Hanby died from tuberculosis in Chicago on March 16, 1867. He is buried in Otterbein Cemetery in Westerville.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 22nd, 1833 (Rushville), Died March 16th, 1867 (Chicago)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1901 - 1940

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

Notes: Listed as B. R. Hanby on sheet music.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 41 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]912 7-in. 7/17/1901 Darling Nellie Gray American Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1387 7-in. 5/12/1902 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1387 10-in. 5/12/1902 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3515 10-in. 7/17/1901 Darling Nellie Gray American Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]31044 12-in. 1901-1902 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor C-600 12-in. 10/27/1903 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet, with orchestra composer  
Victor A-1043 7-in. 2/18/1904 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor B-1043 10-in. 2/18/1904 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor A-1242 7-in. 4/21/1904 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet, unaccompanied composer  
Victor B-1242 10-in. 4/21/1904 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet, unaccompanied composer  
Victor C-1242 12-in. 3/16/1905 Darling Nellie Gray Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet, unaccompanied composer  
Victor B-3138 10-in. 2/23/1906 Darling Nellie Gray Richard Jose Counter-tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-14733 10-in. 4/21/1914 Darling Nelly Gray Lambert Murphy Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-15705 10-in. 2/15/1915 Darling Nellie Gray Samuel Gardner Violin solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-16779 10-in. 11/17/1915 Darling Nellie Gray Peerless Quartet Male vocal quartet, with orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-16779 10-in. 7/2/1925 Darling Nellie Gray Peerless Quartet Male vocal quartet, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-17855 12-in. 6/13/1916 Songs of the past, no. 15 Victor Mixed Chorus Vocal chorus and soloists, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-20092 10-in. 6/26/1917 Darling Nelly Gray Alma Gluck Soprano vocal solo, with male vocal quartet and orchestra composer  
Victor B-22402 10-in. 10/31/1918 Darling Nellie Gray Orpheus Quartet Male vocal quartet, with orchestra composer  
Victor BS-031256 10-in. 1/9/1939 Darling Nellie Gray Les Brown Orchestra ; Miriam Shaw Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer  
Victor CS-057603 12-in. 11/7/1940 Darling Nellie Gray Bill Dickinson ; Tuxedo Colonels Instrumental ensemble, with calls composer  
Columbia 4215 10-in. ca. July 1909 Darling Nellie Gray Carroll Clark Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 19735 10-in. 1/23/1912 Darling Nelly Gray Alice Nielsen Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 46312 10-in. 1/3/1916 Darling Nellie Gray Taylor Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia 78789 10-in. 11/3/1919 Darling Nellie Gray Tollefsen Trio Instrumental trio composer  
(Results 1-25 of 41 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Hanby, Benjamin Russel," accessed November 27, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104386.

Hanby, Benjamin Russel. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104386.

"Hanby, Benjamin Russel." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 27 November 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104386

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