William Steffe (1830–1890), born in South Carolina, was a Philadelphia bookkeeper and insurance agent who is credited with collecting and editing the musical tune for a camp-meeting song with the traditional "Glory Hallelujah" refrain, in about 1856. It opened with "Say, brothers, will you meet us / on Canaan's happy shore?" The tune became widely known.
Early in the American Civil War, this tune was used to create the Union army marching song "John Brown's Body", which begins with the lyrics "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on."
In November 1861, Julia Ward Howe, having heard this version, used the tune as the basis of her new verse, later known as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".
Birth and Death Data: Born 1830 (South Carolina), Died 1890
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1901 - 1927
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, lyricist
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix B-]824||10-in.||4/29/1902||John Brown's body||J. W. Myers||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer, lyricist|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix A-]824||7-in.||5/21/1901||John Brown's body||J. W. Myers||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer, lyricist|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix B-]3386||10-in.||5/21/1901||John Brown's body||J. W. Myers||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer, lyricist|
|Victor||B-18344||10-in.||9/11/1916||Battle hymn of the Republic||Imperial Quartet||Male vocal quartet, unaccompanied||composer|
|Victor||B-20007||10-in.||6/1/1917||American national airs||Pietro||Accordion solo||composer|
|Victor||C-20388||12-in.||7/11/1917||Songs of the nation||Conway's Band||Band||composer|
|Victor||BVE-38076||10-in.||6/13/1927||Battle hymn of the Republic||Mark Andrews||Pipe organ solo||composer|
|Victor||[Trial 1924-02-28-02]||Not documented||2/28/1924||Battle hymn of the republic||Louise Homer||Contralto vocal solo, with piano||composer|
|Columbia||3351||10-in.||ca. 1905||Battle hymn of the Republic||George Alexander||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||composer|
|Columbia||19802||10-in.||3/12/1912||Battle hymn of the Republic||Columbia Mixed Quartette||Mixed vocal quartet, with orchestra||lyricist, composer|
|Columbia||46731||10-in.||4/21/1916||Battle hymn of the Republic||Columbia Mixed Double Quartette||Mixed vocal double quartet, with orchestra||composer|
|Columbia||77180||10-in.||6/28/1917||Battle hymn of the Republic||Columbia Stellar Quartette ; Charles Harrison||Male vocal solo and male vocal quartet, with orchestra||composer|
|Columbia||W144682||10-in.||9/16/1927||Battle hymn of the Republic||Columbia Mixed Chorus||Mixed vocal chorus, with orchestra||composer|
|Columbia||90141||10-in.||between 1918 and 1925||Battle hymn of the Republic||Columbia Band||Band||composer|
|OKeh||S-71220||10-in.||Jan. 1923||Battle hymn of the Republic||Ernest Hare||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||composer|
|Brunswick||[Br cat 5136-b]||10-in.||approximately Aug. 1917||Battle hymn of the Republic||Mixed vocal quartet (unidentified; Brunswick Records)||Mixed vocal quartet||composer|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Steffe, William," accessed January 19, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/116641.
Steffe, William. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/116641.
"Steffe, William." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 19 January 2022.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
Send the Editors a message about this record.