Jacob Kimball

Short Name: Jacob Kimball
Full Name: Kimball, Jacob, 1761-1826
Birth Year: 1761
Death Year: 1826

Kimball, Jacob. (Topsfield, Massachusetts, February 15, 1761--July 24, 1826, Topsfield). He graduated from Harvard in 1780, studied law, taught school, and tried to make a living at various other occupations, with small success except in the field of music where he was regarded as an outstanding singer, teacher, and composer of his period. He edited Rural Harmony (Boston, 1793) which he followed with Essex Harmony (1800), and Essex Harmony, Part II (1802), which included the only tunes of his own composition which can now be identified as his, except those in the popular Village Harmony (1795) the later editions of which, down to 1821, were probably edited by him. There is evidence that he also wrote poetry, including a number of hymns, some of them perhaps anonymous ones, otherwise unknown, included in the above-mentioned song books. The one hymn which can be attributed to him with assurance is his excellent metrical version of Psalm 65 which Jeremy Belknap included in his Sacred Psalmody (1795), entitled "A New Version" and beginning "Thy praise, O God, in Zion waits." The only other hymn by an American author in Belknap's collection is Mather Byles' "When wild confusion wrecks the air," republished in 1760.

See: Jacob Kimball: A Pioneer American Musician, Essex Institution Historical Collections, XCII, no. 4.

--Henry Wilder Foote, DNAH Archives


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