Bliss, Philip P(aul)

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Bliss, Philip P(aul)

Bliss, Philip P(aul), prominent American gospel hymn composer and hymnbook compiler; b. Clearfield County, Pa., July 9, 1838; d. in a train accident near Ashtabula, Ohio, Dec. 29, 1876. After pursuing a career as a singing-school teacher, director of musical conventions, and concert singer, he was active in the evangelistic field from 1874. Although he wrote almost 100 secular songs, it was as the author and/or composer of over 300 sacred works that established his reputation. The designations “gospel song” and “gospel hymn” were first used in his compilations Gospel Songs (Cincinnati, 1874) and Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs (Cincinnati, 1875). His memoirs were ed. by D. Whittle (N.Y., 1877).

Bibliography

B. Neil, P.P. B. (1838–1876): Gospel Hymn Composer and Compiler (diss., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1977); D. Smucker, P.P. B. and the Musical, Cultural and Religious Sources of the Gospel Music Tradition in the United States, 1850–1876 (diss., Boston Univ., 1981).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire