FIRST APPEARANCE IN AMERICA OF MUSIC FOR "(AMERICA) MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE." LYON, JAMES. 1735–1794. Urania: A Choice Collection of Psalm-tunes, Anthems and Hymns...Adapted to the Use of Churches, and Private Families. [Philadelphia: William Bradford], 1761.

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 56
FIRST APPEARANCE IN AMERICA OF MUSIC FOR "(AMERICA) MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE."
LYON, JAMES. 1735–1794.
Urania: A Choice Collection of Psalm-tunes, Anthems and Hymns...Adapted to the Use of Churches, and Private Families. [Philadelphia: William Bradford], 1761.

US$ 20,000 - 30,000
£ 14,000 - 21,000

Fine Books and Manuscripts

17 Jun 2021, 13:00 EDT

New York

Americana
FIRST APPEARANCE IN AMERICA OF MUSIC FOR "(AMERICA) MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE."
LYON, JAMES. 1735–1794. Urania: A Choice Collection of Psalm-tunes, Anthems and Hymns...Adapted to the Use of Churches, and Private Families. [Philadelphia: William Bradford], 1761.
8vo (112 x 242 mm). 110 leaves, including engraved title by Henry Dawkins, dedication, subscriber's list, and 105 engraved musical leaves printed recto and verso; "*" denoting "new" compositions to pp 44, 50, 63, 125, 165, and 194. Early 19th-century American sheep over marbled paper boards, front joint cracked, title page started, with offsetting to the margins, generally clean.
Provenance: Fred F. Lathrop (choir leader, Bridgeport, CT, provenance note to endpaper); to Olive Gates(?), Troy, KY(?).

FIRST BOOK OF PRINTED MUSIC BY AN AMERICAN, AND THE FIRST APPEARANCE IN AMERICA OF THE MUSIC FOR "AMERICA (MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE)." EXTREMELY RARE COMPLETE copy conforming in all first printing textual points and subscriber list as described by Richard Crawford, but with a variant six pages with asterisk, previously noted only as 4 or 5 (this seen only in the Library of Congress copy) — an interesting and previously unnoted variant within the first printing.

Urania stands as the most important contribution of American composer James Lyon, indeed one of the most, if not the most, important American musical contributions of the 18th-century. Likely begun while he was still at Princeton before graduating in 1759, Urania was first advertised simultaneously in the Pennsylvania Journal and Pennsylvania Gazettte, May 22, 1760, calling it truthfully "the first Attempt of the kind to spread the Art of Psalmody, in its Perfection, thro' our American Colonies...": "Proposals For Printing by Subscription. A Choice Collection of Psalm Tunes and Anthems, from the best Authors, with some entirely New... neatly engraved on Copper Plate, bound in the common form of Music-Books and contain about 210 Pages...." Subscriptions were being "taken by William Bradford and James Lyon in Philadelphia," and they were looking for 400 subscribers, although the book appeared with a subscriber list of just 210 names. While the earliest extant advertisements calling the work "Just Published" date to 1762, a copy at the NYPL has a manuscript addition to the subscriber list dated 1761.

While other tune-books had appeared in America, Lyons's Urania is the first uniquely American contribution, composed and collected by an American, and identifying particularly songs of American origin. Interestingly, the music for "America (My Country Tis of Thee" (based on "God Save the King" first printed in England, 1744) appears for the first time in America on page 190 as a hymn titled "Whitefield's [Tune]," accompanied by religious lyrics. The song would continue to evolve in America over the next seventy years, until it was unveiled on July 4, 1831, with new lyrics by Samuel Smith, in its present form.

Complete copies of the first printing are EXCEEDINGLY RARE. When Sonneck first performed his census in 1905, he was able to locate just 13 copies of ANY EARLY ISSUE, many of which were defective, and of which only 9 are known today. Richard Crawford in 1970 located "nearly a dozen more [early printings]," with 5 copies identified in his "Table I" at least 2 of which are defective. No complete copy has been recorded at auction in the 20th-century. A VERY RARE AND IMPORTANT piece of American musical and colonial history.

See Crawford, Richard. "Preface [with Appendices,]" Urania. New York, 1974; Evans 8908; Sonneck, O.G. Francis Hopkinson & James Lyon: Two Studies in Early American Music, Washington, DC, 1905.
Contacts
FIRST APPEARANCE IN AMERICA OF MUSIC FOR "(AMERICA) MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE." LYON, JAMES. 1735–1794. Urania: A Choice Collection of Psalm-tunes, Anthems and Hymns...Adapted to the Use of Churches, and Private Families. [Philadelphia: William Bradford], 1761.
Auction information

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins and Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, Wine & Whisky

27.5% on the first $12,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $12,500 up to and including $600,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $600,000 up to and including $6,000,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of $6,000,000.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card for returning clients only. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

App