Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Voices Found: Louisa Putnam Loring

Hymnwriter and editor Louisa Putnam Loring was born on this day in 1854 into a prominent New England family. She lived most of her life with her older sister, Katherine Peabody Loring, in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts, a seashore section of the town of Beverly. Louisa was an accomplished musician who played the piano and harp.

She was the Emergency Secretary of the Massachusetts Red Cross, as well as a founder and sometime president of the Aiken Cottages in South Carolina, a sanitarium for men suffering from tuberculosis. She and her sister were involved in many charitable causes, including the Beverly Anti-Tuberculosis Society, aid for the victims of the Great Salem Fire, and aid for Bulgarian schoolchilden.

Louisa compiled a hymnal, Hymns of the Ages (1906). In the 1907 annual report of the American Unitarian Association we find this quote about the recently-released volume:

"It represents the completion of many years of study, and it is as near the ideal of what a hymn-book for our free churches should be as we are likely to achieve."

Unfortunately, Loring's Hymns of the Ages is not yet available online. This hymn was written a few years earlier.

O thou who turnest into morning
The shadows of the passing night,
Again to conscious life returning,
We bless thee for the newborn light.

Grant us that light, to all unfailing
Who seek to do thy perfect will,
That we, o’er doubt and fear prevailing,
May trust thy good above all ill;

That we may offer thee thanksgiving
Beyond our prayers and songs that rise
In greater faithfulness of living,
In deeper love through sacrifice.

Louisa Putnam Loring, 1902
Charles Lincoln Ziegler, 1902

Ziegler was apparently a church musician and sometime composer in the Boston area, but more than that I've not found.

The picture of Louisa Loring above is a black-and-white reproduction of a miniature portrait painted by American artist Florence MacKubin. Loring was also painted twice by the famous John Singer Sargent; one of those portraits (with her sister Katherine) was lost in a fire, while the other remains privately owned and not visible online.


Leland Bryant Ross said...

I like the tune, too. The text is nice, too, but I'm not sure if my "morning hymns" section would have room for it, in a hardcopy hymnal. Online, of course, sure.

Leland aka Haruo

C.W.S. said...

I should probably say that I would not have found this hymn except for finding that Loring is a foremother of a friend of mine.

However, if we had known it 20 years ago it would very likely have been part of our project -- I always liked to use things that required no alt. at all.