Thursday, June 21, 2012

Notes on Griggs' Sketch

[1] Griggs describes the split between White and Walker in different terms than J. S. James did. He does not mention any squabble over White not being named as co-author of the Southern Harmony. Rather he seems to couch it in a more amicable dispute over the move to seven-shapes from four-shapes. The split between White and Walker over Walker not listing B. F. White as a co-author has been challenged and possibly discredited. There are some timeline problems with Griggs' history too. White had long since moved to Georgia and published The Sacred Harp before Walker published his Christian Harmony in seven shapes.

[2] Griggs claims that White first started The Organ and later compiled the Sacred Harp. This timeline has also been disproven. The Sacred Harp was published before The Organ newspaper was established.

[3] The idea that B. F. White taught singing schools in Texas crops up from time to time. As a Texan, I find this intriguing and not outside the realm of possibility, especially considering he had family and friends in Texas. At this time there are no details available to prove or disprove assertions that White taught music in Texas.

[4] This may be generally correct, but 4th edition of The Sacred Harp was reprinted at least twice between 1870 and 1900.

[5] Not "William" but rather Wilson Marion Cooper.

[6] Cooper was not dead in 1907. The Fausts (not Fause) may have been owners of the Cooper book after his death, but I have seen no information on this elsewhere. In 1927 the Blackshears--Cooper's daughter and son-in-law were the owners. Perhaps the Fausts owned it before then and sold it to the Blackshears, but it seems more likely that it passed to his daughter upon his death. This is the same daughter responsible for many of the altos in the book. Perhaps they owned it when they were negotiating a combining of the books. Or perhaps Griggs was just mistaken. At some point after the 1927 Blackshear 9th edition, the Faust brothers and B. P. Poyner printed an edition of this book, apparently with no changes.

[7] Assuming the accuracy of Rootsweb, J. R. James would be Joseph R. James (1892-1986), son of Robert Edward Lee James.

[8] Though Griggs never mentions the J.L. White book, the "three books" under consideration are the Cooper, James, and J. L. White revisions of The Sacred Harp. W. M. Cooper died in 1916. J. L. White died in 1925, and J. S. James was hospitalized for several years before his death in early 1931. None of the original revisers would have been involved in negotiatations regarding merging the books. Maybe this is why some folks thought the time was ripe for such a move. Several conventions in Texas adopted resolutions in the late 1920s and/or early 30s to combine the J.L. White, Cooper and James books into one book.

[9] This White and Walker reference seems to mean only that they couldn't come to an agreement, as White & Walker couldn't, in his earlier reference

[10] The finer details show that some of the Denson family purchased the rights and the Publishing Company was later formed, or at least this is the way I understand it.

[11] Griggs seems to hold out hope that a merger can still be accomplished. Nevertheless it is probable that by 1936 "that train had already left the station."

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