William Steffe

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

Recordings

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  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Steffe, William," accessed January 24, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/116641.

Steffe, William. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/116641.

"Steffe, William." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 24 January 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/116641

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