Hymnals Collection

This collection highlights some of the rare and important hymnals in the Baylor hymnal collection. From the early printings of metrical Psalms following the Reformation to early gospel and Sunday School music, each hymnal included in the collection is an essential piece of congregational song history.


Starting from the Reformation, this collection tells the story of congregational song through the movements of the past 400 years. While difficult to narrow the collection to the first 50 digitized hymnals, these selections highlight the broad history and depth of congregational song while not centering on one tradition or time. The collection includes a wide array of denominations and traditions. Known creators include Martin Luther, Thomas Sternhold & John Hopkins, Nahum Tate & Nicholas Brady, William Billings, Isaac Watts, John & Charles Wesley, Samuel Holyoke, John Newton & William Cowper, Lowell Mason, W. H. Monk, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and James D. Vaughan.


This collection comes from at least twenty-three different individuals or organizations, but two sources contributed more than 20% of the digital collection. Seven of the hymnals are from the Eskew Hymnological Collection, obtained in 2004 by the Baylor University Libraries. Acquired from world-renowned hymnologist Dr. Harry Eskew, the entire collection includes some 2,200 volumes of hymnals, hymnology books and journals, and related works on worship and church music. Eskew was professor emeritus at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Another six hymnals are from the Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, PA. The Bucknell Library, funded by William Bucknell, closed in 1970 when Crozer Seminary merged with Rochester Theological Seminary. Of note, Martin Luther King, Jr. studied at Crozer from 1948 to 1951.


While these 50 hymnals are milestones in church music history, the Baylor Arts & Special Collections Research Center holds over 1,400 rare hymnals in addition to the hymnals in the general collection. If interested in additional hymnals, contact the Research Center here or search the library catalog at here. In the coming years, we hope to continue growing the digital Hymnals Collection to include more rare and important sources.



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Using This Resource In Your Research?

If you're a researcher or scholar and you've found a use for our materials in your work, email us at

digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu and tell us about it! We may feature your work on our Digital Collections blog or work with you to promote your work via our other social media outlets.


Activity Note


This collection is considered an active collection. Items will be added periodically as they are acquired by Baylor University and processed through the Digitization and Digital Collection Preservation Services group.