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A. J. Showalter

Anthony Johnson Showalter (May 1, 1858 – September 14, 1924) was an American gospel music composer, teacher and publisher. He was born in Cherry Grove, Virginia. Showalter was trained in the Ruebush-Kieffer School of Music and was teaching in shape note singing schools by age fourteen. In 1884, he formed the Showalter Music Company of Dalton, Georgia. He was also an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Dalton.

Showalter's best known song is "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms", which was published in 1887. He has generally been credited with writing the music and chorus. However, Showalter's nephew, Samuel Duncan, is also credited with the music for the verses. Elisha Hoffman wrote the verses. The song features prominently in the score of Night of the Hunter and forms about a quarter of the score of the 2010 film True Grit.

Showalter authored several rudimentary books on music theory and a book on harmony and song composition. These were widely used in singing schools across the South.

He died in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1924 and is buried at West Hill Cemetery in Dalton.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 1st, 1858, Died September 14th, 1924

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1929

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-47156 10-in. 10/6/1928 In the evening take me home Gentry Family Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor BVE-57781 10-in. 12/16/1929 I'll be there Frank McCravy ; James McCravy Male vocal duet, with instrumental ensemble composer  
OKeh W402389 10-in. 3/20/1929 Leaning on the everlasting arms The Irene Spain Family Vocal trio, with viola and autoharp composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Showalter, A. J.," accessed August 2, 2021,

Showalter, A. J.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 2, 2021, from

"Showalter, A. J.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 2 August 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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