The Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion

Collection ID



Printed Book




Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States




Printed on Paper


5.6 × 9.1 × 0.8 in. (14.3 × 23.3 × 2 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

The Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion, first published in 1835, is a shape note hymn and tune book compiled by William Walker. The book is notable for having originated or popularized several hymn tunes found in modern hymnals and shape note collections like The Sacred Harp. Of note is the first appearance of the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” paired with the tune “New Britain,” the tune most associated with the song today. “New Britain” was an Appalachian tune set to a pentatonic meter that first appeared in print in 1829 in Columbian Harmony.

Published in 1845 by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Acquired by Hugh Johnston.[1] Acquired by Rev. Jno. B. Gibble.[2] Acquired by Jim Crotts, Jim Crotts Rare Books, Clemmons, North Carolina; Privately purchased in 2018 by Ted Steinbock, private collector, Louisville, Kentucky; Privately purchased in 2020 by Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] On the flyleaf is a bookplate from the library of Hugh Johnston with a family crest and the Latin phrase, “nunquam non paratus,” meaning “never unprepared.” This is the motto and crest of the Johnston family of Scotland and Ireland. According to Filby and Meyer’s, Passenger and immigration lists index: a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries (1985), Hugh Johnston immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1810. Many immigrants of Scottish and Irish descent settled in the Carolinas. [2] Written at the top of the title page is “Jno. B. Gibble’s book.” The Goldsboro Weekly Argus, a newspaper from Goldsboro, North Carolina, included a reference from the Wilmington Star identifying a Jno. B. Gibble as a reverend relocating from the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina to Texas in 1895. Further research indicated that Gibble was active in the Diocese of Dallas for several years.

Questions about our Collections?

Visit Contact Us Page

(866) 430-MOTB

To acquire permission to use this image, please visit our Rights and Reproduction page .

© Museum of the Bible 2024
Designed by PlainJoe