Utica: Hastings & Tracy & W. Williams, 1832. First edition. Original dyed roan spine, green boards, 6 x 3.75 inches, 162 pages. Some staining; some rubbing to the spine and boards, some soiling and wear; some scattered foxing and browning; a bit cracked along the gutter in one gathering; a good sound copy despite this tedious litany of accumulated faults we seek no perfect cure. Item #19945
From the preface, dated January 1832, the compilers argue for their reform approach to devotional music, moving away from folk or popular tunes: “Impenitent men, for example, who might be ignorant of the true principles of devotional music, would, immediately on their conversion, be found to exercise their religious feelings in such melodies as might be at hand, whatever might be the character of those melodies, or however they might have been previously connected in the mind of others, with profane or impure associations.” Despite the efforts of Hastings, he managed a certain populist touch; with this collection he first published his musical composition “Toplady,” which he composed for (and has since become the accepted music for) the Augustus Toplady hymn, “Rock of Ages.” Early ownership signatures on the front free endpaper and at the head of the title page. With the printer’s slug on the verso of the title page, “William Williams’ press, Utica.” American Imprints 12848.