Dec. 24. 1915. William H. Doane, composer and hymnist, died in South Orange, NJ. Doane was a manufacturer, inventor, hymn writer, choral director, church leader and philanthropist. He composed over 2000 church hymns. More than seventy patents are credited to him for innovations in woodworking machinery. His philanthropy led to the renaming of the Granville Academy, as the Doane Academy, a boys’ and girls’ private preparatory school associated with Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he was a major benefactor. Although raised in a Presbyterian household, Doane converted to his mother’s Baptist faith, while a young student at Woodstock Academy. This conversion began a lifelong commitment to service in that church, through his musical compositions, choir direction, denominational leadership and philanthropy.
Doane was a prolific composer of Christian hymn tunes. He edited forty-three collections of hymns and composed an estimated 2,300 works, including hundreds of original hymns and hymn settings. He is best known as a longtime collaborator of Fanny Crosby, having written music for an estimated 1,500 of Crosby’s poems. As well as hymns, Doane composed secular instrumental, vocal, and choral works, including two cantatas on the legend of Santa Claus. ABHS has a collection of Doane’s business dealings, charitable endeavors, copyright registrations, sheet music and family photographs and memorabilia.