Kirkpatrick, William James

Composer

b Duncannon, Pennsylvania, USA 1838, d Germantown, Penns 1921. Learned music first from his father and then from other teachers. A lifelong Methodist, he had varied careers as a fife major during the American Civil War and as carpenter and furniture dealer in Philadelphia (1862–78). He belonged to Wharton St Methodist Episcopal Ch, then for 13 years to Grace ME Ch, teaching widely in the Philadelphia area and linked with several Methodist Sunday Schools. The first of some 100 hymn and song compilations was Devotional Melodies, published mainly for camp meetings in 1859 when he was 21. Many of his gospel songs became highly popular in the USA; 11 were included in Hymns for the Living Church in 1974, 5 of which are retained in The Worshiping Church, 1990 and in Worship and Rejoice, 2001. In the hymnal publishing business he collaborated with John R Sweney, with whom he published some 50 collections, which sold several million copies, helped to establish the gospel hymn as a genre, and came to be known as ‘Sweney and Kirkpatrick’ (a further 50 came after Sweney’s death). They show some brass band influence, were planned with camp meetings in mind and in turn helped to shape their style of these gatherings. These books included 1000 or so of Fanny Crosby’s hymns—see notes to F van Alstyne. WJK’s Other editorial colleagues were H L Gilmour and John H Stockton. No.432.