Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Voices Found: Mabel Johnston Camp

Mabel Johnston Camp (November 25, 1871 - May 25, 1937) was born in Kansas and seems to have lived her life in the Midwest. She was a contralto soloist and accomplished pianist.

Mabel married a lawyer and they both converted to Christianity following their marriage. They were involved with the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and some of her songs first appeared in Moody publications. She often wrote both words and music, sometimes only the music. When her husband became a traveling evangelist, Mabel stayed home in Chicago and raised money for underprivileged children.

In 1920 she wrote an article entitled "And Today" for The Latter Rain Evangel, a popular Pentecostal magazine published by the Stone Church in Chicago. describing her recovery from a number of serious medical problems.

This is one of her more well-known gospel songs, looking ahead to the coming season.

I know of a name, a beautiful name,
That angels brought down to earth;
They whispered it low, one night long ago,
To a maiden of lowly birth.

That beautiful name, that beautiful name,
From sin has power to free us!
That beautiful name, that wonderful name,
That matchless name is Jesus!

I know of a name, a beautiful name,
That unto a Babe was given.
The stars glittered bright throughout that glad night,
And angels praised God in heav’n.

I love that blest name, that wonderful name,
Made higher than all in heaven.
’Twas whispered, I know, in my heart long ago
To Jesus my life I’ve giv’n.

Jean Perry, 1916
Tune: THAT BEAUTIFUL NAME (Irregular with refrain)
Mabel J. Camp, 1916

Some sources have speculated that Jean Perry is really a pseudonym for Mabel Camp (though no one knows why she would have done that, as she was credited as the author of other gospel songs).


robert said...

Thanks for posting a hymn and biographical background of Mabel Camp. Another of her songs found in some hymn books is "He Is Coming Again." And today is the 138th anniversary of her birth.

robert said...

Me again. We do have some dates for Jean Perry (1865-1935), and they are not the same as those for Mabel Camp (1871-1937). I do think they are two separate people, though we know little more about the former. The story behind the writing of the tune however is interesting. I posted it today on my blog, Wordwise Hymns.

And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at my own, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)