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American Sacred Music

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About the Collection

American Sacred Music

American Sacred Music provides fulltext access to sacred music published in the United States, with a focus on publications from the Midwest. Dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries, these are primarily collections of hymns and anthems, with other types of sacred music, such as cantatas and revival songs, also represented.

This digital collection is intended to illustrate the variety of religious and sacred music found within the musical life of Wisconsin. The publications make clear that hymns, anthems and sacred songs were by no means restricted to congregational singing during church services. At revival meetings, at home, at singing schools and in the classroom, sacred music was an important community activity.

Many of these volumes were gifts, for which the Mills Music Library is grateful. A few bear markings of congregations in Wisconsin or of individuals. Additional items will added throughout the next few years.

Browse the collection
To discover which songbooks, hymnals and anthem collections are included, select this search option. Search by title words, place of publication, date, subject headings, author and denomination.

Search only the full text
To search for a specific anthem, hymn, song title, composer or for words in lyrics or introductory material, select this search option. You may search across the entire collection or within a specific item.

Please note that full-text searching is based on uncorrected OCR (Optical Character Recognition) text. Indexes, introductory and instructional material usually return accurate results. However, words within the music notation are more likely to have errors.

Access to Sources

To consult the source material in the American Sacred Music Collection, please visit the Mills Music Library. For further information, contact the reference desk at (608) 263-1884 or

Related Materials

Hymnals of the Stone-Campbell Movement (
Online version of the Enos E. Dowling Hymnal Collection, this website includes scanned images of 19 hymnals, containing 9,000 hymns. There are MIDI versions of the tunes, a search engine for finding a particular hymn, as well as background information about the authors and compilers of the hymns.

Music for the Nation, American Sheet Music: 1870-1885 (
From the Library of Congress American Memory Project, a wonderful sampling of sacred music published in sheet music format. Over 3,000 sacred songs are available fulltext.

Google Books (
A rapidly growing number of fulltext hymnals and songbooks may be found within Google Books. As a sample search, try keyword hymnal and select full view only.