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Collection 194 Papers of William H. Doane

Identifier: CN 194

Scope and Contents

Letters concerning hymn publishing and writing from Ira Sankey, Fanny Crosby, Philip P. Bliss, Philip Phillips, and Dwight L. Moody's daughter-in-law written to Doane. Includes a notebook for hymn and sermon references, Doane's will, hand- written lyrics for hymns, and a photograph of Doane, business leader, philanthropist, and hymn writer. Letters represent various details of the hymn-publishing business, including public reaction.  Notebook contains words, phrases, verses and sentences selected as references for hymn-writing and sermons.  Among the figures whose letters are included are Robert Lowry, Philip Bliss, Philip Phillips, Fanny Crosby, and Ira Sankey.

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "folder 1-1" means box 1, folder 1.]

The largest portion of this collection is correspondence, identified by the name of the letter-writer in the Container List of this guide. These letters are concerned with various details of the business of hymn-publishing and public response. Included are hand-written verses and choruses of texts (Fanny Crosby's "Can a Little Child Like Me?" and "Only One Name," Robert Lowry). A letter from James Little expresses gratitude for the effect of Doane's hymns on Little's life. Other documents are Doane's will (folder 1-7), a printed title list of 150 of Robert Lowry's hymns (folder 1-4), copyrights of which were transferred to Mrs. Lowry on his death. There are also two letters from hymn-writer Phillip Bliss. Singer-evangelist Philip Phillips wrote one letter to Fanny Crosby requesting a temperance song-poem by a given date. The Crosby file (folder 1-2) also contains a hand-written copy by Crosby of "Can a Little Child Like Me?" Five letters are from Ira Sankey concerning arrangements for publishing hymnals and selection of hymn titles. One letter was written to Doane from May Whittle Moody, D. L. Moody's daughter-in-law, thanking him for a copy of a hymn book sent to her father, D. W. Whittle.

The notebook (folder 1-8) contains words, phrases, verses, and sentences apparently selected by Doane as references for his hymn-writing and sermons.


  • Created: 1872-1917

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

William Howard Doane was born February 3, 1832, in Preston, Connecticut, son of Joseph H. and Frances Treat Doane. He received his education at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. Doane's adult lifetime was divided between activities as a businessman, hymn-writer, investor, and philanthropist. His industrial career began in 1847 as secretary of Industry Company cotton mills. In 1861, he became president of J. A. Fay and Company, manufacturers of wood-working machinery, after working for the company for eleven years. He was holder of American and foreign patents on wood-working machinery and a member of numerous professional societies. Other leadership activities included presidency of Central Trust and Safe Deposit Company and head of Ohio Baptist Convention Ministers Aid Society for the midwest. He received the Chevalier Legion of Honor of France in 1889.

Early musical studies included training in church choirs and study under Kanboysen Kingsley and B. F. Baker of Boston. He was awarded a doctorate of music from Denison University in 1875. During his lifetime, Doane composed hundreds of evangelistic hymns and was editor of forty-three collections of hymns. Other compositions included cantatas, anthems, duets, ballads, and secular songs. He died in 1915 at age eighty-three.


1 Box

1 Photograph File

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Overseas Ministries Study Center in 1981.

Accession 81-56

December 23, 1981

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 194 Papers of William H. Doane
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US