The Little Gardner Hymnal, 1844

A Study of Its Origin and Contribution to the LDS Musical Canon



The purpose of this study is to research the hymnal A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Use of the Latter-day Saints, the first LDS hymnal that included musical notation along with the text. Published in 1844 by Blake and Bailey of Bellows Falls, Vermont (now part of Rockingham, Vermont), it was compiled by Jesse Carter Little and George Bryant Gardner, both of whom were living in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and both of whom converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To date, I have been unable to find a single contemporaneous reference to the hymnal. The hymnal simply exists (fig. 1). Neither Gardner nor any of his descendants ever mention it, and there is no reference to it in any of Little’s papers, although many of his papers were destroyed by fire in the 1990s.

Several hymnals for the use of Latter-day Saints were already in existence by 1844, and there is sufficient evidence to conclude that two of these hymnals influenced the choice of material for the new hymnal by Little and Gardner, which was published privately by them. So one may ask, what need did this additional hymnal fulfill? Does it have any historical significance for the Church? Was the format different from other hymnals of the time?

The inquiry would not be complete without a search into the lives and motives of the two compilers. George Bryant Gardner was a chorister in the Methodist Church before joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What Methodist influences, if any, did he bring with him to this new religion? As Jesse Carter Little was the presiding elder over the Peterborough, New Hampshire, Branch of the Church, what part did he play in the publication of the hymnal? Was he also a musician, or was his contribution solely financial and supportive?

The purpose of this research, then, is to discover a rationale for the creation of the hymnal and its subsequent usefulness. The scope will include some analysis of the hymnal itself and create brief sketches of the lives of its compilers. Also included is Appendix A, which includes further discussion on other important hymnals of the day, and Appendix B, which provides a more in-depth analysis of the tunes and texts in the Little and Gardner hymnal.

Early LDS Hymnals

In July 1830, just three months after the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a revelation of instruction was given to Emma Smith, through her husband Joseph, President of the Church, “to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church. For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:11–12). Although another five years would pass before the instruction could be realized, the revelation has been the basis for placing a great deal of emphasis on music in Latter-day Saint worship. The use of hymns and music in general as a medium of worship, praise, spiritual uplift, and social entertainment has a high priority in Mormon culture.

In August 1835, Emma Smith’s hymnal, A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of The Latter Day Saints, was published in Kirtland, Ohio, by Frederick G. Williams and Company. The preface reads as follows:

In order to sing by the Spirit, and with the understanding, it is necessary that the church of the Latter Day Saints should have a collection of “SACRED HYMNS” adapted to their faith and belief in the gospel . . . as the song of the righteous is a prayer unto God, it is sincerely hoped that the following collection, selected with an eye single to his glory, may answer every purpose till more are composed, or till we are blessed with a copious variety of the songs of Zion.1

It is plainly evident that the Saints had a fervent desire to have access to the hymns of Zion, to pray unto God with song, and to raise their voices in praise and worship.

Measuring 3 inches by 4½ inches, the 1835 hymnal contains ninety hymn texts (no music), with thirty-nine having been written by Latter-day Saint poets. Emma received help from William W. Phelps in adapting several non-LDS texts, and in compiling and preparing the book. It was common practice at that time to publish text-only hymnals. Tune books, created by many sects, groups, and denominations as well as established publishers, were used as sources for hymn tunes.2

Between 1835 and 1845 at least ten other hymnals were published by various members of the LDS Church. Among them was the Manchester Hymnal, first published in 1840 in Manchester, England, by Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, and John Taylor, and later published in Liverpool. The first edition contained 271 texts, and as Saints from Europe began immigrating, the hymnal appeared in the United States.

A greatly expanded second edition of Emma Smith’s hymnal was published in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1841, but because of increasing opposition and persecution any further attempts to publish an official Church hymnal in America were abandoned. On the other hand, the Manchester Hymnal was very successful and was published with little or no opposition, and so it became the official Church hymnal for the next fifty years. During this period, it went through twenty-four editions and reprints. After the Saints’ trek westward, the printing moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, but not until 1891. There it was published yearly until 1912, when the Church began using the present-day format for hymnals.

At one time Parley P. Pratt was admonished by Hyrum Smith that hymnals as well as other church works should receive the scrutiny of the Prophet Joseph Smith and be printed only in Nauvoo in order that there be “a standard to all nations.” Thus, several members received Church discipline for publishing unsanctioned hymnals.3 The Little and Gardner hymnal, however, seemed not to have fallen under this injunction, perhaps because Little was the presiding elder over the branches in New England and was leading the effort. Also, it was likely understood that the Little and Gardner hymnal was only to act as a temporary resource until the second edition of Emma Smith’s hymnal was finished.

Music in Nineteenth-Century Peterborough

During the early 1800s, various social organizations involving music sprang up all over New England. Peterborough Village, wherein lived both George Bryant Gardner and Jesse Carter Little (fig. 2), was no exception.

By 1840 . . . there was much social life in Peterborough Village. . . . Music held an important place. Dancing was a favorite form of amusement. . . . The Ameses . . . were the ones regularly called upon to furnish music for the various activities of the town. . . . In his [Alvah Ames’s] spare moments, when he was not running his butcher store, he gave lessons in dancing to the accompaniment of his own violin.4

Music societies were especially important social outlets for members of local churches. They would meet regularly and sing hymns using the solfege system of music instruction. Solfege is defined as the “singing of scales, intervals and melodic exercises to solmization syllables [as in do, re, mi, and so forth].”5 Using this method, singers could acquire great fluency in reading music.

These societies commonly used tune books along with text-only hymnals as instructional material. Each tune included a tune name and meter that could be matched with the meter indicated at the beginning of each hymn text. By matching the meters of text and tune, a singer would be able to sing the hymn with a compatible tune. Tune books included indexes of tune names as well as meters. The tunes were usually homophonic (one melody line) with four lines of music, the top line for tenors, the second line for altos, the third line for sopranos, and the fourth line for basses. Preceding the tunes was a section, sometimes quite lengthy, on the basic elements of music including exercises for vocal production and development. The Little and Gardner hymnal was no exception.

Jesse Carter Little

Jesse Carter Little was a prominent figure in Peterborough in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The youngest of eight children, he was born September 26, 1815, in Belmont, Waldo County, Maine, to Thomas Little and Relief White. Soon after his birth the family moved to Peterborough, New Hampshire, where he grew up. He joined the LDS Church in 1839.

On September 29, 1840, Little married Elizabeth Greenwood French, daughter of Whitcomb French and Mary Kendall. He served in many capacities in the LDS church, including presiding elder for the Eastern States Mission, and second counselor to the Presiding Bishopric under Bishop Edward Hunter in Salt Lake City. He served in that capacity for eighteen years.

It was Jesse Carter Little who, under the direction of Brigham Young, went to Washington D.C. and successfully petitioned President James K. Polk for payment to be issued to the Mormon Battalion in advance of its march. This assured the Church that there would be sufficient monetary resources for the impending exodus to the West.

He was in the first pioneer company to enter the Salt Lake Valley, but thereafter made several more trips to the East and back again, all the while serving as president of the Eastern States Mission. Finally in 1852, he brought his family with him and settled in the Salt Lake area. Prosperous as a merchant and civic leader, Little was also active in ecclesiastical, military, and industrial affairs, was responsible for many public works projects, and was a pioneer in the establishment of several communities in northern Utah. He died on December 25, 1893, at the age of seventy-eight.

No reference has been found of his having had any musical training, nor does music seem to have played a key role in his life. It is my opinion that Little probably provided the financial backing for the printing of the Little and Gardner hymnal as he was a very successful merchant and property owner in Peterborough. Also, as a Church leader, he understood the potential for music to enrich the worship experiences and lives of Church members.

George Bryant Gardner

Born in New Ipswich, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, on April 4, 1813, George Bryant Gardner was the youngest child of Abel Gardner and Lusannah Bryant. The Gardner family included thirteen children that all lived to adulthood. They were poor and subsisted on what was produced on their small, rocky farm in southern New Hampshire.6

There is no record as to how Gardner received his musical training, but knowing the harsh realities of his childhood, one can surmise that he had no formal training. However, journal entries by family members indicate that there was much music in the Gardner home, and that it was a happy household despite many hardships. Gardner was known to have taught in “singing schools” into the 1890s. He established himself as a teacher of singing and dancing wherever he went. Perhaps the only musical training he received in his youth was by participating in such music societies and by enjoying a variety of social opportunities in addition to being reared in a musical environment.

George Bryant Gardner married Elizabeth Dyer Ryan, daughter of Rogers Ryan and Mary Harris Dyer on November 3, 1836. He was a blacksmith by trade as well as a church musician and regular attendee of the Methodist Church. The Gardners moved to Peterborough in May of 1841, bought a house and some land from Adam Penniman, Deacon in the Methodist Church, and set up a blacksmith shop. Gardner tells the charming (and musically significant) story of their conversion to the LDS Church:

[I] attended meeting very regularly, and was chorister, class leader and Sabbath school teacher for about six months . . . at the Methodist meeting house and in good standing with that society. One Sabbath about the first of July 1841 while sitting and listening to our Methodist Priest, it being warm weather and all the windows opened, my ears caught the sound of some man a preaching in the Town House, just across a narrow lane which sounded like music in my ears. On inquiry after meeting I learned it was a man by the name of Eli P. Magim [Maginn] a Mormon elder from Nauvoo, Illinois.7

Eli P. Maginn was said to be a very capable and spirited preacher with a strong, powerful voice.8 As he drew such large crowds, he would at times sit in the windowsill of the hall so those unable to get inside could still hear him. Gardner was determined to know more about him,

and accordingly the next time he preached I made arrangements with my Methodist brethren in regards to their singing and went to hear him preach, and was satisfied that he was called of God and I should not resist.

He did not preach often but when he did I made it in my way to hear him. I concluded to be baptized, accordingly the day was set when he should visit me and attend to the ordinance. I was working in my shop when I saw him coming. I took off my blacksmith apron and laid my hammer on my anvil and went with him to the water, left my wife a crying Old Father Peneman a threatening to dispose me, he having a mortgage on my property. And some neighbors a prophesying that I should lose all my customers. But I burst those bands and was baptized by Elder Eli P. Magim, on Monday, November 20th, 1841, in the Cantocook River, while this was going on the Methodist sisters gathered around my wife a telling her that she had got to give up her husband for he had joined a poor deluded people and would go off and leave her. I was about the first one that was baptized in that place, but after this the Church began to increase very fast, and in January 1842, my wife was baptized.9

At one time, during the early 1840s, the Peterborough Branch of the Church exceeded one hundred adults.10

Gardner and his wife determined to gather with the Saints, and after arriving in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the fall of 1845, immediately began preparing for the exodus west. Rather than depart with the vanguard company, Gardner was asked to stay and help make wagons for those needing more time. He finally crossed the Mississippi River in June 1846, and almost immediately he and his wife contracted malaria. After joining the “Poor Camp” at Garden Grove, Iowa,11 they eventually arrived in Winter Quarters. It took them over a year to recover. When Gardner arrived in Salt Lake City in 1850, he worked for ten years in various enterprises and public works projects and devoted a considerable amount of time to building the temple. In 1860, he was called to go to Dixie (southern Utah) and help establish that area. He lived there for seventeen years. At the time of the dedication of the St. George Temple, he was called to northern Arizona to establish settlements there. George Bryant Gardner died in Woodruff, Arizona, on March 13, 1898, at the age of eighty-five.

Publication of the Little and Gardner Hymnal

Publication of the hymnal by J. C. Little and G. B. Gardner, entitled A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Use of Latter Day Saints, was printed by Blake and Bailey of Bellows Falls, Vermont, sometime between January and June of 1844. Dr. Seth M. Blake and Goldsmith F. Bailey were partners in a printing establishment from 1843 until June of 1844 when Bailey left the partnership to study law. Blake, who received the title of “doctor” after learning the science of dentistry from his brother, was also the publisher of the local newspaper, the Bellows Falls Gazette. Peterborough, New Hampshire, some thirty miles east of Bellows Falls, did not have a newspaper at the time, and thus had limited resources for printing. Bellows Falls, on the other hand, had a paper mill and a thriving printing industry that included the publication of music books of various kinds.12 It would seem likely then, for Blake and Bailey of Bellows Falls, Vermont, to become the printers of the Little and Gardner hymnal.

This hymnal was unique among early LDS hymnals in that it included music. The hymnal measures 4½ inches wide by 5½ inches long. “Its bindings include half or three-quarter black or brown sheep [leather] with marble paper boards, the title in gilt on the backstrip . . . and full brown sheep with a blind stamped border on the covers, gilt bands and gilt title on the backstrip.”13 The hymnal is composed of a title page, two pages of music instruction under the title “Scale, Signatures, Notes and Rests,” followed by forty-eight hymns. The first thirty-one hymns contain soprano and bass lines, and the last seventeen are texts without music. In the back there is an index of first lines. Text meters are indicated for all forty-eight hymns. Six texts list authors: numbers 40, 42, and 43 by Mary Judd Page, and numbers 45, 46, and 47 by William W. Phelps.

The number of copies printed is unknown. I have identified eleven existing copies belonging to ten libraries in the United States.14 There are also an undetermined number in private hands. Some of these have been auctioned recently with the selling price in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Eleven of the tunes found in the Little and Gardner hymnal are found in Joshua Leavitt’s 1830 Christian Lyre (see Appendix A), which has a similar format including pages of vocal instruction and exercises. These similarities make one think that perhaps Little and Gardner used it as a prototype. The Christian Lyre also has one very important addition: a preface written by Leavitt himself, which explains the usefulness of the hymnal, the purpose of the soprano and bass lines, and the reason for the lack of four-part harmony. It reads as follows:

Every person conversant with revivals must have observed, that whenever meetings for prayer and conference assume a special interest, there is a desire to use hymns and music of a different character from those ordinarily heard in the church. . . .

The usefulness also of many excellent hymns in all our modern collections, has been prevented by the inability of singers to find tunes adapted to the various subjects and metres. The “Christian Lyre” is undertaken with a view to meet both these deficiencies. It is intended to contain a collection of such pieces as are specially adapted to evening meetings and social worship, and chiefly such as are not found in our common collections of sacred music.

As the work is not designed to please scientific musicians, so much as to profit plain christians, reference will be had, chiefly, to the known popularity and good influence of what is selected. And it is intended to embrace the music that is most current among different denominations of christians.

As the number of parts is apt to distract the attention of an audience, or to occupy them with the music instead of the sentiment, the tunes here printed will generally be accompanied with only a simple bass, and sometimes not even with that. In a vast multitude of cases the religious effect of a hymn is heightened by having all sing the air only.

Possessing no musical skill beyond that of ordinary plain singers, I send out my work, without pretensions. If it aids the progress of Christ’s cause, I shall be rewarded. If not, I shall be accepted according to what I had, and not according to what I had not. And it will prepare the way for some other person to do it better.15

Leavitt then gives instruction in the use of solfege as well as other basic musical instruction. His explanation gives us good insight into common hymn singing practices of the time. Undoubtedly, this familiarity was carried into the LDS Church by its converts.

There have been those who have suggested that the alto and tenor parts in the Little and Gardner hymnal were to be improvised if there were enough singers, or singers with the ability to do so, and that the reason for the omission of these parts was economical. Leavitt clarifies this notion when he explains that, to him, the highest level of music worship is unison singing, so one would not be distracted from the textual meaning of the hymn by the musicality of part singing.

Most congregational singing was a capella, and the chorister would “line out,” or sing the hymn one phrase at a time, followed by the congregation or choir repeating each phrase. This rote method would be repeated on subsequent occasions until the singers were comfortable singing the hymn in its entirety.

It has also been suggested that the bass line acted as a figured bass (a type of shorthand notation) for instrumental accompanists. It should be pointed out, however, that the small size and binding of the hymnal itself would likely preclude it from being used by instrumentalists. It would be difficult for it to stay open by itself. Methodists, of which Gardner was a former member, “frowned upon the use of anything other than the human voice. The playing of organs was a vanity, and the violin an incarnation of the devil.”16 This tight grip on Methodist music was loosened in the 1840s when the organ was gradually accepted as an instrument for accompanying singing. Leavitt explains that the bass line could provide a figured bass for an accompanist, but perhaps more importantly, its auditory presence would help singers with intonation.

There is no conclusive evidence as to why the Little and Gardner hymnal was created, but it is my opinion that, given its format, the explanations by Leavitt, and the fact that Little and Gardner were members of a substantial congregation of recently converted Latter-day Saints, the intent simply was to meet current needs and desires of those Saints. This theory is supported by the preface of an LDS text-only hymnal compiled by John Hardy and printed in Boston in 1843:

In issuing this little work [156 hymns], The compiler would ask leave to say, that his only object in so doing, is to meet the immediate and urgent demand for hymn books by the branch in this city. If other branches in this region of country, which are not well supplied with hymns, see fit to adopt this book for their use, (for the time being) until supplied with a better, the compiler will be thankful.17

If the intent of the hymnal was to meet the current needs of the Saints, how widely was it used? Again there is no real answer, but it is my opinion that its usage did not go much beyond the local congregation in Peterborough, and perhaps not for any great length of time. It has been held by some that the hymnal was used as far away as Nauvoo, Illinois, a thousand miles from Peterborough. If that were the case, one would think that there would be more copies in existence, and that there would be some mention of it. In addition, the logistics of time and the transportation limitations in the early 1840s preclude the notion of wide use for the Little and Gardner hymnal from being practical.

On December 21, 1841, a meeting was held by the Department of Music in the City of Nauvoo during which a resolution passed authorizing the use of Lowell Mason’s Manual of Instruction as a textbook for basic music instruction.18 Mason’s tune books, containing hundreds of hymn tunes as well as pages of instruction, were in wide use throughout the country at the time and were actually sold in Nauvoo. Due to the wide use of Mason’s tune books, it is unlikely that the Little and Gardner hymnal would have been used in Nauvoo at the time. Furthermore, the Adams hymnal, which was a text-only hymnal and was similar to many others that were in circulation at the time, was published in the same area and only one year after the Little and Gardner hymnal. That there was demand for another hymnal so close in time and place to the publication of the Little and Gardner hymnal perhaps serves as a final commentary on its limited circulation and use.

Another reason to support the theory that the hymnal was not widely used is, simply stated, the hymnal is full of printing errors. For example, in hymn 14 the word “each” in the first line is misspelled, the verses are numbered incorrectly, syllabic accents do not correspond with the strong beat/weak beat pattern in measures 6 and 7, and the words do not always line up under the right beat. Other hymns have an insufficient number of beats in some measures, incorrect roots in the bass, and other errors as a result of poor editing.19

In addition to printing errors, the limitations of hand-set printing presses become apparent. To print a hymnal meant hand setting each note with pitch and value on a palette. This resulted in the staff lines appearing as broken lines. The next step was trying to fit each syllable under the correct note. How disappointed Little and Gardner must have been when all of these imperfections were realized in print! (fig. 3).

Mistakes aside, the Little and Gardner hymnal admirably reflects mainstream Mormonism. Both compilers were true believers, suffered much and sacrificed greatly to establish Zion, and died as members in good standing. Their reason for creating the hymnal was simple; they desired to give local converts, undoubtedly friends and acquaintances, access to the hymns of Zion in order to realize the power of worship through music.

As with the Emma Smith hymnals, the Little and Gardner hymnal shows a strong influence from the Methodist tradition, though half of the Little and Gardner hymns were written by Latter-day Saints. However, all thirty-one tunes were borrowed from existing tune books or other sources. Neither Gardner nor Little was a composer or poet. In fact, evidence shows that no LDS musicians were composing music until after the migration to Utah. The lack of original music compositions notwithstanding, the hymnal portrays the deep conversion of its compilers to the restoration of the gospel20 and a gallant effort to bring to the Saints in southern New Hampshire the opportunity of singing the hymns of Zion. Their efforts are to be commended. (For further analysis of the hymnal, see Appendix B.)

The Spirit of God

The most important contribution the Little and Gardner hymnal makes to LDS hymnody is the inclusion of the hymn “The Spirit of God” by William W. Phelps. Beloved by the Saints of the Restoration, it has been sung at every temple dedication in this dispensation. Its placement as number one by Little and Gardner is also an indication of their regard for its message. The origin of this tune is unknown, but the version in the Little and Gardner hymnal is the earliest found thus far. The tune is recognizable when compared to the “The Spirit of God” as sung today, though it has undergone many changes, mostly made by Evan Stephens in the mid-nineteenth century.

A rather charming article was published in the Peterborough newspaper, The Transcript, on September 16, 1915, concerning the manner in which the Spirit of God was sung. (The content was likely much older than the publication date.) The writer was recalling what he referred to as a Mormon service he attended many years before.

Mormon services really differed little from a Methodist or Free Will Baptist service. I often attended. For the most part, it was a plain evangelical sermon. The sect took the scripture a little more literally, and practiced feet washing. Their hymns were fervid, much like modern gospel hymns. I recall one; could sing a verse if I had the voice in which I sang it often up to a recent period.

We’ll wash and be washed, and with oil be anointed,
Withal not omitting the washing of feet,
For he who receiveth the penny appointed
Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.

We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb;
Let glory to Him in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, amen and amen.

The irreverent oft sang it in the street substituting for “Amen and amen,” “Jo Smith and McGin [Maginn].”21

The above verse is the fourth of six written by William W. Phelps followed by the chorus as it is sung today. The Little and Gardner version (fig. 4, 4a) includes all six verses of text.22 The 1985 LDS hymnal excludes verses four and five. One can almost envision a spirited sermon preached by the likes of Eli Maginn, followed by the fervent singing of a beloved hymn of the Restoration, and the enthusiastic, audacious attendees spilling into the streets after such a meeting, singing their song of Zion.


Although the Little and Gardner hymnal may have been deemed a failure for all of its shortcomings, its mere existence has enlightened our minds to the zeal with which the early Latter-day Saints desired access to the hymns of Zion. Its unique format contributes to our understanding of hymn singing practices of the day, and its inclusion of “The Spirit of God” gives us our earliest reference to its hymn tune.

Brigham Young once stated that the gospel of Jesus Christ could not be preached effectively without the use of music. Quoting from Colossians 3:16, Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Quoting from the 1985 LDS hymnal,

Inspirational music is an essential part of our church meetings. The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord. Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end.23

These quotations all proclaim the importance of music as a tool for worship. If the Little and Gardner hymnal was created to fulfill any of the needs as stated above, then it was created for a noble purpose despite its imperfections. To those responsible, we are grateful for their efforts and sacrifice. As a final comment, I quote from Martin Luther: “I place music next to theology and give it the highest praise.” Luther saw music as a noble power wherein God “might be praised and glorified and that we might be bettered and strengthened in the faith through His holy Word, driven into the heart with sweet song.”24

Appendix A:
Other Important LDS and Non-LDS Hymnals

At least one other non-LDS hymnal with a similar format was also in print at the time of the Little and Gardner publication. Compiled by Joshua Leavitt, The Christian Lyre; a Collection of Hymns and Tunes Adapted for Social Worship, Prayer Meetings and Revivals of Religion also had a combination of texts without music and texts with soprano and bass lines. His hymnal was the first to be printed in this format and acted as a prototype for other hymnals until after the Civil War.

First published in November 1830, the Leavitt hymnal was widely used in Protestant, Evangelical, and Revivalist churches and went through many editions. The term “Revivalist” was a broad one that would have encompassed any newly formed American religion including the LDS Church. Supplements were, for a time, printed monthly. The hymnal was still in print as late as 1864.

Leavitt wrote the following explanation at the beginning of the supplement for the eighteenth edition, printed in 1833, “Many friends have expressed a wish, to have a collection of the best and most common psalm tunes, printed in a shape to be bound with the Christian Lyre, for use in family worship and in prayer meetings. The present collection was made to meet this wish.”25

Another early LDS hymnal compiled by John E. Page and John Cairns was published “in February or March 1841, probably in Ohio or Indiana.”26 Following a short preface, the Page and Cairns hymnal contains forty-seven hymns and a first-line index. It is a text-only hymnal with the majority of the texts coming from previously published LDS sources. Included are six texts cited by Page’s wife, Mary Judd Page. Some of the six are unique to this hymnal, and some appear only here and in the Little and Gardner hymnal. Two hymns are credited to William W. Phelps. The rest are not credited.

Page and Cairns were fully aware of the impending second edition of Emma Smith’s hymnal as reference is made to this event in the preface of their hymnal as follows:

To the public: The publishers of this selection of Hymns have been induced, from the scarcity of our Hymn books, and the great demand that [unreadable] everywhere made for the same, to present to the public this small collection, to answer the present demand as there is a large collection about to be published at Nauvoo, Ill., by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.27

This hymnal then was to serve in the interim, and the same conclusion has been drawn about the purpose of the Little and Gardner hymnal.

In the general conference held at Nauvoo in April 1843, Apostle John E. Page was sent to the East where he preached and organized several branches. He was in Peterborough in February of 1843 where he, having made the acquaintance of Gardner, ordained him an elder. It is likely at this time that Gardner became aware of Page’s hymnal and thus used it as a source of texts for his hymnal published a year later.

In 1845 an LDS missionary, Charles A. Adams, published a hymnal entitled Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Like the Little and Gardner hymnal, it also was published by Seth M. Blake in Bellows Falls only one year after the Little and Gardner hymnal.

Charles A. Adams was called in the spring of 1844

to campaign for Joseph Smith in New Hampshire. At some point he labored in Peterborough, seven miles from his place of birth, so it would have been natural for him to have his hymnbook printed in Bellows Falls, thirty miles to the northwest, by the shop that printed the Little–Gardner book. . . . When the Saints went west, Adams remained in New England. In 1855 he married Sarah Holder in Lynn, Massachusetts; five years later he died. Adam’s marriage record gives his occupation as ‘music teacher.’28

A unique characteristic of the Adams hymnal is the grouping of hymns according to subject.29 Four of the hymns under “Miscellaneous” have the following subheadings: “Mission of the Twelve,” “On Faith,” “Joseph Smith,” and “Written in Prison.” It is evident that this hymnal reflects the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Appendix B:
Analysis of Tunes and Hymn Texts in the Little and Gardner Hymnal

Twelve of the hymn texts in the Little and Gardner hymnal can be found in the current LDS hymnal, published in 1985. They are as follows:


An Angel From on High

From Greenland’s Icy Mountains

Glorious Things are Sung of Zion

Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken

How Firm a Foundation

Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Lord We Come Before Thee Now

Now Let Us Rejoice

O God The Eternal Father

The Lord My Pasture Shall [Will] Prepare

The Spirit of God

Seven of the hymn tunes are also found in the current LDS hymnal; three have undergone various changes, and two hymn tunes have also retained the same text. They are listed in table 1 by tune name followed by the hymn text used in the 1985 hymnal.

Table 1
Contextual Changes between Little and Gardner Hymnal and 1985 Hymnal



Same text as the Little and Gardner Hymnal


Prospect of Heaven

The Spirit of God


Tune basically unchanged


Duke Street


Missionary Hymn

Jehovah, Lord of Heaven and Earth

From All That Dwell Below the Skies

Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing

Come, All Whose Souls Are Lighted

Tune has undergone various changes

Duane Street


Prospect of Heaven

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

The Spirit of God


All of the hymn tunes in the Little and Gardner hymnal are in major keys; twenty-nine are diatonic (standard seven-note scale), and five are pentatonic (five-note scale). Fourteen of the thirty-one hymn tunes are in the key of G. Twelve begin on do, two on mi, and seventeen on sol. The seventeen texts without tunes can be sung to at least one of the thirty-one tunes.

Meter signatures and text meters vary greatly. Nine different meter signatures were used for the thirty-one tunes, as well as twenty-two different text meters. The greatest number of hymns with text meter is Long Meter (8888), having five.

Tune names have been found for all but five of the tunes (table 2). References used to compile the list include nine different tune books, though many more were perused. It is my opinion that there still might be an unknown but definitive tune book that Gardner used as a source for his tunes. As stated above, he was not a wealthy man, and one wonders if he would have had many tune books at his disposal. It cannot be ruled out that he had a number of tunes committed to memory. If so, this would explain why most of the tunes vary in key, rhythm, and/or melodic line from the tune books. Of great value in locating the tunes was the creation of a solfege index patterned after the one in Hymns and Tunes Index (1966) by Katharine Smith Diehl. See the table of the thirty-one selected hymn tunes, composers, text names, as well as the solfege index for the Little and Gardner hymnal (table 2). Included are keys and tune names that will prove useful for those desiring to compare tunes.

Table 2
Solfege Patterns for the Little and Gardner Hymnal

Hymn Name




Tune Name


All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name





Oliver Holden

An Angel From on High




And Are We Yet Alive





Lowell Mason

Arise My Soul, Arise





William Hauser

Awake and Sing the Song




He Shall Feed His Flock

George F. Handel

Awake Ye That Slumber




I Love Thee

Jeremiah Ingalls

From Greenland’s Icy Mountains




Missionary Hymn

Lowell Mason

From the Regions of Glory





Dr. John Clarke

Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken





Amzi Chapin

Here At Thy Table




St. Martin’s

William Tans’ur

How Firm a Foundation






How Pleas’d and Blest Was I





Aaron Williams

In Ancient Days Men Fear’d the Lord





Lowell Mason

Jesus and Shall It Ever Be




Duane Street

George Coles

Jesus Shall Reign Whe’er the Sun




Duke Street

John Hatton

Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise




Lord Thou Hast Search’d and Seen Me





Israel Holdroyd

Lord We Come Before Thee





Now Let Us Rejoice




Oh God Th’ Eternal Father





George J. Webb

Salem’s Bright King




Garden Hymn

Garden Hymn

Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning





The Gallant Ship




The Glorious Day




The Great and Glorious Gospel Light





Amos Blanchard

The Lord My Pasture Shall Prepare




Forty-sixth Psalm

Amos Bull

There is an Hour





Nathaniel D.

This Earth Was Once a Garden Place




Prospect of Heaven


Though in the Outward Church Below




Harvest Home

Harvest Home

Who are These Array’d in White





Samuel Webbe

Yes, My Native Land





Jean-Jacques Rousseau


By mentally figuring the solfege of a hymn tune from any source, one can quickly determine if it matches any of the thirty-one. As most tune books have indexes by tune name, one can first see if any of the above are listed and then see if they match. Several of the tune names are common to more than one tune.

Perhaps the most interesting exercise in compiling this document was determining the origins of the hymn texts. Thirty-eight were found in Emma Smith’s 1841 hymnal; twenty-seven were found in the privately published hymnal by John E. Page and John Cairns; seventeen were common to both.

As I was comparing the Little and Gardner and Page and Cairns hymnals for matching hymns, the thought occurred that there may be a pattern to the order in which the hymns were placed in Little and Gardner (other than texts with tunes followed by text-only hymns). To test for a pattern, I created a numerical index, and the result was very enlightening. All of the hymns with tunes were in Emma Smith’s 1841 hymnal. All of the text-only hymns were in the Page and Cairns hymnal. As stated above, seventeen were common to both. However, the most fascinating discovery was that, with the exception of hymn numbers 44 and 45, the numerical order of the hymns borrowed from the Page and Cairns hymnal was maintained in the Little and Gardner hymnal (this does not occur for the texts borrowed from Emma Smith’s hymnal). With so many direct correlations, the evidence is overwhelming that Little and Gardner used Emma Smith’s 1841 hymnal and the Page and Cairn 1841 hymnal as sources for texts.

About the author(s)

Marilyn J. Crandall received a bachelor of arts in music from Brigham Young University, and a master of music degree from Arizona State University. A great-great-granddaughter of George Bryant Gardner, she took a leave of absence from music teaching in 1994 and received a master’s degree in library science from the University of Arizona, basing her thesis on her great-great-grandfather’s hymnal. She would like to thank Dr. Michael Hicks, School of Music, Brigham Young University; Dr. Nicholas Temperley, School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Hugh McHarry, Mason County History Project, Havana, Illinois, who offered their encouragement, assistance, and expertise while doing research for this project.


1. A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of The Latter Day Saints (Kirtland, Ohio: F. G. Williams and Co., 1835; reprint, Independence, Mo.: Herald Heritage, 7th printing, 1973), preface.

2. The LDS Church actually published its own tune book, but not until 1889. It underwent seven editions and was discontinued after 1920.

3. Michael Hicks, Mormonism and Music: A History (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989), 25.

4. Etta M. Smith, History of Peterborough New Hampshire, 2 vols. (Rindge, N.H.: Richard R. Smith, 1954), 2:673–74.

5. H. Wiley and Stanley Sadie Hitchcock, The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (London: Macmillan, 1986), 454.

6. U.S. military records show that Abel Gardner enlisted numerous times in the Continental and U.S. armies to help support his family. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

7. George Bryant Gardner, Diary, ante 1898, unpaginated, in possession of the author.

8. One description of him reads as follows: “[He was] a lively, fascinating speaker with a wide knowledge of the Bible which he continually quoted. . . . [He had a] magnetic personality, [which] attracted people from far and near to his meetings.” George Abbot Morison, History of Peterborough, New Hampshire, 2 vols. (Rindge, N.H.: Richard R. Smith, 1954), 1:187.

9. Gardner, Diary.

10. A list of members as remembered by one of the early converts can be found in Morison, History of Peterborough, 1:195–96. Another membership list as given by Little himself can be found in Historical Sketches of Peterborough New Hampshire: Portraying Events and Data Contributing to the History of the Town (Peterborough, N.H.: Peterborough Historical Society, 1938), 195.

It seemed that all roads to New England went through Peterborough so far as LDS missionaries were concerned. Many meetings were held by visiting elders and apostles, including Julian Moses, Erastus Snow, Parley P. Pratt, Ormus Bates, Charles A. Adams, Hyrum Smith, Orson Pratt, William Lowe, John E. Page, Amasa Lyman, and Brigham Young. It should be noted that Brigham Young was in Peterborough in the summer of 1844, when the letter sent by Wilford Woodruff arrived, informing him of the Prophet Joseph’s martyrdom. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had been sent from Nauvoo to the East that spring to campaign for Joseph Smith’s nomination as president of the United States.

11. Will Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock (Spokane, Wa.: Arthur H. Clark, 1997), 83.

12. An article in the May 25, 1844, edition of the Bellows Falls Gazette describes the events of a musical convention to be held there in June. Referred to as a “Convention of the Friends of Sacred Music,” its venue included exercises for choirs and teachers as well as lectures from prominent music professors.

13. Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume 1, 1830–1847 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1997), 288.

14. A letter containing the accession record for each of the eleven copies was requested and received from each of the libraries. Most are a part of that institution’s Americana collection and were either donated to the respective libraries as part of larger contributions or purchased outright. None of the accession records provided any important information about the hymnals. The following is a list of libraries holding copies:

Brigham Young University

Provo, UT

1 copy

Brown University

Providence, RI

1 copy

Harvard University

Cambridge MA

1 copy

Huntington Library

San Marino, CA

1 copy

LDS Church Historical Department

Salt Lake City, UT

2 copies

Library of Congress

Washington, D.C.

1 copy

Union Theological Seminary

New York City, NY

1 copy

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

1 copy

Vermont State Library

Montpelier, VT

1 copy

Yale University

New Haven, CN

1 copy


15. Joshua Leavitt, The Christian Lyre: A Collection of Hymns and Tunes Adapted for Social Worship, Prayer Meetings, and Revivals of Religion, 16th ed. (New York: By the author, 1833), preface.

16. Nolan B. Harmon, The Encyclopedia of World Methodism (Nashville, Tenn: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974), 1691–92.

17. John Hardy, A Collection of Sacred Hymns, Adapted to the Faith and Views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Boston: Dow and Jackson’s Press, 1843), preface. As there are several John Hardys in early Church records, an extensive search of family history records would have to be made to determine who exactly this John Hardy was, but he does present a convincing argument for the creation of a hymnal for local use.

18. William E. Barrett and Alma P. Burton, Readings from LDS Church History from Original Manuscripts, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1953), 1:233.

19. J. C. Little and G. B. Gardner, A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Use of the Latter Day Saints (Bellows Falls, Vt.: Blake and Bailey, 1844), 4–6.

20. Using the subject headings of the topical index in the 1985 LDS hymnal, the table below indicates the number of hymns in the Little and Gardner hymnal that could be listed under each heading. Note the number of hymns indicated for “The Restoration of the Gospel,” “The Gathering of Israel,” “The Second Coming of Christ,” “The Millennium,” “Enduring to the End,” “Missionary Work,” and “Zion.” These are all topics of expanded truth as a result of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Add to these such topics as “Baptism,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Exaltation,” “Priesthood,” “Pioneers,” “Prophets,” “Trials,” and “Adversity,” and one can readily see that this hymnal is truly a collection of hymns for the use of members of the restored Church.






Book of Mormon








Enduring to the End








Gathering of Israel


God the Father






Holy Ghost




Jesus Christ—Creator


Jesus Christ—Savior


Jesus Christ—2nd Coming


Jesus Christ—Shepherd




Missionary Work
















Restoration of Gospel



















21. Historical Sketches of Peterborough New Hampshire: Portraying Events and Data Contributing to the History of the Town (Peterborough, N.H.: Peterborough Historical Society, 1938), 250.

22. Little and Gardner, Collection of Sacred Hymns, 4–6.

23. Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), ix.

24. What Luther Says: An Anthology, comp. Edward M. Plass (Saint Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1959), 980, 981.

25. Joshua Leavitt, Supplement to the Christian Lyre (New York: By the author, 1831), [p. 2]; italics added.

26. Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, 1:153.

27. John Edward Page and John Cairns, A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Use of the Latter Day Saints ([Pittsburgh?]: By the authors, 1841), 1.

28. Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, 1:331.

29. They include the following: Public Worship, Sacramental, Spread of the Gospel, Funeral, Second Coming of Christ, Farewell, Gathering of Israel, Miscellaneous, Baptism.


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