Saturday, March 9, 2013

Phoebe Palmer Knapp

Today is the birthday of the prolific song composer Phoebe Palmer Knapp, (which we have often marked here) born into a Methodist family in New York City in 1839.  Her parents help popular prayer meetings in their home, amd her mother, also named Phoebe, was a well-known evangelist and writer.

Her long friendship with Fanny Crosby led to many collaborations between the two, with Knapp writing tunes for the Fanny's texts.  Knapp, a wealthy woman through her husband Joseph Fairchild Knapp of the Metropolitan Life insurance firm, often provided financial assistance to Crosby, who earned a confortable income from the publication of her hundreds of gospel songs but gave most of it away to charitable causes.  Fanny and Phoebe's most well-loved song is undoubtedly Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.

Knapp's spproximately 500 tunes accompanied the texts of several other writers (including her mother's).  Today's song appeared in her first collention, Notes of Joy (1869), the text by Mary D. James.  It was apparently popular at camp meetings in those days, with its refrain about waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit,.

My body, soul and spirit,
O Christ, I give to thee,
A consecrated offering,
Thine evermore to be.

My all is on the altar,
I’m waiting for the fire;
Waiting, waiting, waiting,
I’m waiting for the fire.

O Jesus, mighty Savior,
I trust in thy great name;
I look for thy salvation,
Thy promise now I claim.

O let the fire, descending
Just now upon my soul,
Consume my humble offering,
Refine and make me whole!

Mary D. James, 1869
Tune: ALL ON THE ALTAR ( with refrain)
Phoebe Knapp, 1869

Mary Dagworthy James was another Methodist woman who had worked with Knapp's mother Phoebe Worrall Palmer in the Holiness Movement and wrote for some of the publications Palmer edited.

P.S. The photograph above is from the July 21, 1900 Saturday Evening Post, in which Phoebe Knapp was named one of their Women of the Hour.

One Year Ago: Phoebe Palmer Knapp

Three Years Ago: Phoebe Palmer Knapp

Four Years Ago: Phoebe Palmer Knapp

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