1754-1783: The Arts: Chronology

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1754-1783: The Arts: Chronology




  • Literature Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will; Samuel Bownas, Gods Mercy Surmounting Gods Cruelty, Exemplified in the Captivity and Redemption of Elizabeth Hanson; Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved: Being an Almanack and Ephemeris; John Woolman, Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes.
  • The poet Joel Barlow is born in Connecticut.


  • Music Thomas Johnson, Rules for Singing, with a collection of about fifty tunes, for psalms and hymns.


  • Literature Duncan Cameron, The Life, Adventures, and Surprising Deliverances, of Duncan Cameron, Private Soldier; Jacob Duche, Pennsylvania: A Poem; William and Elizabeth Fleming, A Narrative of the Sufferings and Surprising Deliverance of William and Elizabeth Fleming; Stephen Tilden, Tildens Miscellaneous Poems, On Divers Occasions; Chiefly to animate and rouse the soldiers.


  • Literature Martha Brewster, Poems on Divers Subjects; Benjamin Church, The Choice: A poem, after the manner of Mr. Pomfret.
  • Music Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David imitated in the language of the New Testament (seventeenth edition); Divine Songs, attempted in easy language, for the use of children.
  • The American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle begins publication.


  • Literature Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth; Anne Bradstreet, Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, Full of Delight; John Brown, An Estimate of the manners and Principles of the Times; David Fordyce, The Temple of Virtue. A Dream; Jonathan Swift, The Journal of a Gaming Lady of Quality; John Williams, The Redeemed Captive, Returning to Zion.
  • The American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle stops publication.
  • The lexicographer and author Noah Webster is born in Connecticut.


  • Music Marburg Hymn Book (the first Lutheran Hymn book printed in the colonies).


  • Literature Jean Lowry, A Journal of the Captivity of Jean Lowry and her children.
  • Music The American Mock-bird. A Collection of the most familiar Songs now in vogue; James Otis, The Principles of Latin Prosody.


  • Literature John Banks, Cyrus the Great: A Tragedy; Richard Barford, The Virgin Queen: A Tragedy; Susannah Centlivre, The Basset-Table: A Comedy; Samuel Davies, An Ode on the Prospect of Peace; Samuel Nevill, The History of North America.
  • Music Francis Hopkinson, An Exercise, Containing a Dialogue and Ode Sacred to the memory of his late gracious Majesty, George II; James Lyon, Urania. Or a choice Collection of Psalm Tunes, Anthems, and Hymns, from the most approvd authors.
  • The St. Cecilia Society, the oldest musical society in the United States, is founded in Charleston, South Carolina.


  • Literature Thomas Godfrey, The Court of Fancy; James Forrester, The Polite Philosopher; Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Tradesman; Solomon Gesner, The Death of Abel; Frances Hopkinson, Science: A Poem; William Livingston, Philosophic Solitude.
  • Music Robert Lloyd, Arcadia: or the Shepards Wedding; Benjamin Wallin, Evangelical hymns and Songs; Jemmy Carson, Jemmy Carsons Collection of Ballads.
  • The novelist Susanna Rowson is born in Portsmouth, England.


  • Literature The New England Primer Enlarged.
  • Music Frances Hopkinson, A Collection of Psalm Tunes, with a few anthems and Hymns; James Lyons, The Lawfulness, Excellency, and Advantage of Instrumental Musick.
  • James Bremer opens a music school in Philadelphia; his pupils include Francis Hopkinson, the future political leader and writer.
  • 20 June Benjamin West arrives in London.
  • 3 Aug. The poet and playwright Thomas Godfrey dies.


  • Literature Thomas Hutchinson, History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay; James Otis, Rights of British Colonies.
  • Music Josiah Flagg, A Collection of the Best Psalm Tunes (engraved by Paul Revere); The American Cock Robin: Or, A choice collection of English Songs...agreeable to the North-American Taste; Daniel Bayley, A New and Complete Introduction to the Grounds and Rules of Music.
  • Johann Snetzler sends an organ to Trinity Church in New York City.


  • Literature Oppression: A Poem; Samuel Adams, Resolutions; Thomas Godfrey, Prince of Parthia and Juvenile Poems on Various Subjects.
  • Music The Whiteoak Anthem, taken from John Bunyans Pilgrims Progress.
  • Charles Willson Peale arrives in Boston.
  • John Singleton Copley submits his Boy with Squirrel for exhibition in London.
  • David Douglass arrives in Charleston with his theatrical company.


  • Literature Robert Rogers, Ponteach.
  • Music Martin Madan, A Collection of Hymns, for Social Worship.
  • The first Concert of Musick is performed in Savannah, Georgia.
  • David Douglass opens the new Southwark Theater in Philadelphia.
  • William Dunlap, the painter, playwright, and historian, is born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.


  • Literature Elizabeth Rowe, The History of Joseph: A Poem, in Ten Books.
  • Music The Masque, A New Song Book; Andrew Barton, The Disappointment, or the Force of Credulity (the first American comic ballad libretto); William Tansur, The Royal Melody Complete (first American edition).
  • Benjamin West exhibits Agrippina Landing at Brundisium with the Ashes of Germanicus.
  • Jan. Samuel Greville, the first professional American actor, makes his debut in Nicholas Rowes play Tamerlane (1702).
  • David Douglass produces The Prince of Parthia in Philadelphia, the first American drama to be professionally produced on the American stage.


  • Literature John Dickinson, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania; Rusticus, Liberty. A Poem.
  • Music George Whitefield, A Collection of Hymns, for social worship.
  • July The Virginia Gazette prints John Dickinsons Liberty Song.


  • Literature Thomas Hopkinson, Liberty, A Poem; Alexander Martin, America, A Poem.
  • Music John Mason, Spiritual Songs.


  • The first known American sculptor, Mrs. Patricia Lovell Wright of New Jersey, leaves America for London.
  • The first issue of The American Magazine (Philadelphia) appears.
  • Mar. British troops riot at James Joans concert in Boston.
  • June Charles Willson Peale returns from England to Maryland.
  • Sept. The Boston Gazette advertises a very curious spinnet, being the first ever made in America, by John Harris.


  • Literature William Livingston, America: Or, a Poem on the Settlement of the British Colonies; John Trumbull, An Essay on the Use and Advantages of the Fine Arts.
  • Music William Billings, The New England Psalm Singer.

      The Massachusetts Spy begins publication.

  • 16 Jan. William Tuckey gives an overture and sixteen pieces from Handels Messiah (1742), in New York.
  • 26 Mar. Boston newspapers advertise Paul Reveres engraving of the Boston Massacre.
  • 10 July A pipe organ is played for the first time in an American Congregational church in Providence.


  • Literature Mary Somerville, A Tale.
  • Music Miss Ashmore, The New Song Book Being Miss Ashmores Favorite Collection of Songs, As Sung in the Theatres and Public Gardens in London.
  • Benjamin Franklin begins writing his Autobiography.
  • The novelist Charles Brockden Brown is born in Philadelphia.
  • Benjamin Wests Death of General Wolfe is exhibited to critical acclaim at the Society of Artists in London.


  • Literature Philip Freneau, The American Village, A Poem; Freneau and Henry Brackenridge, The Rising Glory of America; Jonathan Trumbull, Progress of Dulness; Richard Cumberland, The Fashionable Lover. A Comedy; Samson Occom, A Sermon, Preached at the Execution of Moses Paul, An Indian.
  • Music Lemuel Hedge, The Duty and Manner of Singing in Christian Churches Considered and Illustrated; John Willison, Scripture Songs for Zions Travellers.



  • Literature The Child of Nature, a Philosophical Novel; Alexander Dow, Sethona, A Tragedy; Robert Hitchcock, The Macaroni, A Comedy; Hugh Kelly, The School for Wives; Frances Lopkinson, A Pretty Story; Jacob Duché, Caspipinas Letters; John Trumbull, An Elegy on the Times; Robert Wells, The Story of Aeneas and Dido Burlesqued.
  • Music Samson Occom, A Choice Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs; John Stickney, The Gentleman and Ladies Musical Companion.
  • 10 June John Singleton Copley sails for Europe.


  • Literature John Burgoyne, The Blockade; Philip Freneau, American Liberty, A Poem; Mercy Otis Warren, The Group; Jonathan Sewell, Cure for the Spleen.
  • Music Samuel Mills, The Nature and Importance of Singing Praise to God.
  • John Behrent makes the first piano in America.
  • The first architecture book published in America is Abraham Swanns A Collection of Designs in Architecture.
  • Yankee Doodle, or (as now Christened by the Saints of New England) The Lexington March is published in London.


  • Literature Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Battle of Bunkers-Hill; Philip Freneau, The Beauties of Santa Cruz; John Leacock, The Fall of British Tyranny; Thomas Paine, Common Sense; Jonathan Trumbull, MFingal: A Modern Epic Poem; Elisha Rich, A Poem on the Late Distress of the Town of Boston; Mercy Otis Warren, The Blockheads: Or, the Affrighted Officers. A Farce.
  • Music A Complet Tutor for the Fife.
  • 8 Jan. A British performance of The Blockade of Boston is interrupted by news of an American raid on Charlestown, Massahusetts.
  • Feb. The Farmer and his Sons Return from a visit to the CAMP, the classic text of the song Yankee Doodle, is published.
  • May The Continental Congress commissions Charles Willson Peale to paint a portrait of George Washington.


  • Literature Hugh Henry Brackenridge, The Death of General Montgomery; John Burgoyne, The Maid of the Oaks: A New Dramatic Entertainment; Robert Dodsley, The Blind Beggar of Bethal Green; Jane Marshall, Sir Harry Gaylove, or Comedy in Embryo; Hugh Kelly, The Romance of an Hour; a New Comedy.
  • Music George Stevens, Songs, Comic, Satyrical, and Sentimental.
  • A British military theater opens in occupied New York and operates until 1783.
  • Oct. Fifers and drummers of Gen. John Burgoynes army play Yankee Doodle during surrender ceremonies at Saratoga, New York.


  • Literature Francis Hopkinson, The Battle of the Kegs; Joel Barlow, The Prospect of Peace; Wheeler Case, Poems, Occasioned by Several Circumstances and Occurences in the Present Grand Struggle of America for Liberty.
  • Music William Billings, The Singing Masters Assistant.
  • Jan. British officers begin their first play at the Southwark Theater in occupied Philadelphia.
  • May American troops at Valley Forge stage Joseph Addisons Cato (1713).


  • Literature Jupiter Hammon, An Essay on the Ten Virgins; Mercy Otis Warren, The Motley Assembly, A Farce; Philip Freneau, The House of Night.
  • Music William Billings, Music in Miniature, Containing a Collection of Psalm Tunes; A Collection of the Most Approved Tunes and Anthems, for the Promotion of Psalmody; Loyal and Humorous Songs, on Recent Occasions; The Liberty Song.
  • The lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key is born in Maryland.
  • The Supreme Council of Pennsylvania commissions Charles Willson Peale to paint a portrait of George Washington.
  • Jan. The first issue appears of the United States Magazine, edited by Philip Freneau and Hugh Henry Brackenridge.



  • Literature Philip Freneau, The British Prison Ship; William Hayley, The Triumphs of Temper; A Poem (with Plates); Abbe Raynal, The Revolution in America.
  • Music William Billings, The Psalm-Singers Amusement.
  • 11 Dec. Francis Hopkinsons, The Temple of Minerva, the first grand opera staged in America, is performed in Philadelphia.


  • Literature J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer; Jupiter Hammon, A Winter Piece: Being a Serious Exhortation; Thomas Mercer, The Sentimental Sailor; Samuel Pratt, Emma Corbett: Exhibiting Henry and Emma, the Faithful Modern Lovers.
  • Music James Hart, Hymns, composed on various subjects; Simeon Jocelin, The Choristers Companion; Or, Church Music Revised; Andrew Law, A Collection of Hymns for Social Worship; James and John Relly, Christian Hymns, Poems, and Spiritual Songs.
  • The Aitken Bible becomes the first complete English Bible to be printed in America.


  • Literature Jupiter Hammon, An Evenings Improvement.
  • Music Oliver Brownson, Select Harmony: Containing the Necessary Rules of Psalmody; Andrew Law, The Rudiments of Music.
  • The Boston Magazine begins publication.
  • The author Washington Irving is born in New York City.
  • Noah Webster publishes his American Spelling Book.


1754-1783: The Arts: Chronology