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George W. Bethune

George Washington Bethune (March 18, 1805 – April 28, 1862) was a preacher-pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church.

Of Huguenot descent, his father was Divie Bethune, a highly successful merchant in New York. Originally a student at Columbia College of Columbia University, Bethune graduated in 1822 from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania and went on to study theology at Princeton University. He married Mary Williams in November, 1825.

In 1827, he was appointed Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church, Rhinebeck, New York. In 1830, he moved to Utica, New York; in 1834 to Philadelphia; and in 1850 to Brooklyn Heights, NY. He was offered the chaplaincy of the U.S. Military Academy, the Chancellorship of New York University and the Provostship of University of Pennsylvania, all of which he declined.

He was an outspoken Democrat in politics, opposed to slavery but unsympathetic to abolitionism.

Due to his Calvinist ideas about the unsuitability of such a hobby for a clergyman, Bethune, an avid fisherman, worked anonymously on five of the US editions of Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler under the pseudonym The American Editor.

He also wrote many hymns, some of which are still used today. One popular hymn he wrote is "There is no Name so Sweet on Earth." The hymn "When Time Seems Short and Death is Near" was found in his portfolio and was written on April 27, 1862, the day before his death.

While visiting Florence, Italy for his health, he fell ill after preaching and died of a stroke on April 27, 1862. His Life and Letters were edited by A. R. Van Nest, 1867.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 18th, 1805, Died April 28th, 1862

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1914 - 1927

Roles Represented in DAHR: lyricist


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-14710 10-in. 4/15/1914 The auld Scotch songs Christine Miller Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Victor B-21671 10-in. 4/11/1918 Auld Scotch sangs Harry Lauder Male vocal solo, with piano lyricist  
Victor B-25330 10-in. 6/4/1921 The auld Scotch sangs Louise Homer Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Victor BVE-37300 10-in. 12/7/1926 Auld Scotch sangs Harry Lauder Male vocal solo, with violin, cello, and piano lyricist  
Victor BVE-40178 10-in. 10/13/1927 The auld Scotch sangs John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with piano lyricist  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bethune, George W.," accessed September 16, 2021,

Bethune, George W.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from

"Bethune, George W.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 16 September 2021.

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