Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grant Colfax Tullar

Author and composer Grant Colfax Tullar, born on this day in 1869 in Connecticut, was named for the US president and vice president at the time of his birth: Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax. His childhood years were difficult; he had to work in a woolen mill and later as a shoe clerk instead of going to school.

He became a Methodist at a camp meeting in 1889, and after that attended the Hackettstown Academy for some time (accounts vary) in Newton, NJ. He was ordained in the Methodist Church, but also spent several years as the music leader for traveling evangelist Major George Hilton. His musical work led to his meeting gospel song composer
Isaac Meredith, and the two men opened the Tullar-Meredith Publishing Company in 1893. They edited and published numerous songbooks, especially Sunday School music. Some of these books can be seen online:

Sunday School Hymns No.1 (1903)
The Bible School Hymnal (1907)
Sunday School Melodies (1914)

Meredith apparently stuck to composing tunes, but Tullar wrote both texts and tunes, most of which appeared in the collections they published. They collaborated with many of the most popular gospel song and Sunday School song writers of the period. I' m sure I've seen a Fanny Crosby text or two with a tune by Tullar, but of course I couldn't find one this week. Several years later, Tullar wrote some tunes for texts by
Alma White which appeared in the later hymnals of the Pillar of Fire Church.

This hymn for children, text by Tullar and tune by Meredith, was first published in Sunday School Hymns No. 1.

We will follow Jesus,
Though we may be small;
Gladly may we listen
To his loving call.

Little ones may follow,
Follow all the way.
Jesus bids us follow
Every passing day.

We will follow Jesus,
Everywhere he leads;
Show him unto others
By our loving deeds.

Just to follow Jesus,
Makes the day seem bright,
Fills the heart with singing,
Through the longest night.

Grant Colfax Tullar, 1903; alt.
FOLLOWING ( with refrain)
Isaac H. Meredith, 1903

Tullar's most long-lived tune, matched with Carrie Breck's text Face to face with Christ my Savior still appears in the 1991 Baptist Hymnal and Worship and Rejoice (2001). In 1946, Tullar sold many of his copyrights to the Hope Publishing Company, which still administers the rights to the post-1923 texts and tunes. After his death in 1950, the Tullar-Meredith company was sold (perhaps also to Hope?).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to get permission to copy a hymn from the Sunday School Hymns No. 2 book, published in 1912 for non-commercial use? Would a copyright issued in 1911 still be in force?
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