Feast of Milton Smith Littlefield (June 13)   1 comment

Littlefield

Above:  Milton Smith Littlefield, Jr.

Image Source = Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, New York, June 13, 1934, Page 13

Accessed via newspapers.com

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MILTON SMITH LITTLEFIELD, JR. (AUGUST 21, 1864-JUNE 12, 1934)

U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor

Milton Smith Littlefield, Jr., often listed simply as Milton S. Littlefield, was a native of New York, New York.  His parents were Anna Elizabeth Schull and Milton Smith Littlefield, Sr. (1830-1899).  Our saint’s father, an officer in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, commanded African-American soldiers during that conflict and became the “Prince of Carpetbaggers” afterward.  Our saint was the elder of two children; his sibling was Calvin Alfred Littlefield (1867-1916).

Our saint graduated from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1889 then from Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, three years later.  Then Littlefield’s ministerial career began.  He was a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. from 1892 to 1911.  He began as assistant pastor of Central Presbyterian Church, perhaps at Norristown, Pennsylvania, from 1892 to 1896.  (My sources were vague, hinting at the vicinity of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.)  Littlefield married Luella Gardner (1860-1928) in 1895.  The couple had a daughter, Helen B. Littlefield (Fuller), circa 1896.  In 1897 our saint served as the preacher at Hill School, Pottstown.  He was pastor of First Union Presbyterian Church, Manhattan, New York, New York, from 1898 to 1907, then of Bay Ridge Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York, from 1907 to 1911.

In 1911 our saint switched to the Congregationalists.  For ten years he worked as the district attorney of the Congregational Education Society.  Then, in 1921, he became the pastor of Union Evangelical Church, Corona, Long Island, New York.  Littlefield resigned for health reasons in February 1934.

Littlefield was a published author and an editor of hymnals.  He also wrote at least two hymns, both of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  His books included:

  1. Hymns of Worship and Service for the Sunday School (1908);
  2. Hand-Work in the Sunday School (1908);
  3. Heroes of Israel (1911);
  4. Christian Leaders (1913);
  5. The School Hymnal (1921), with his wife, Luella;
  6. Hymnal for Young People (1934); and
  7. Hymns of the Christian Life (1937), published posthumously.

Littlefield, who lectured widely in hymnology, received honors.  In 1915 Washburn College, Topeka, Kansas, awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree.  Our saint also served as the President of the Hymn Society of America from 1927 to 1928.

Littlefield died at Corona on June 12, 1934.  He was 69 years old.

Littlefield Article 01

Littlefield Article 02

Littlefield Article 03

Littlefield Article 04

Article Source = Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, New York, June 13, 1934, Page 13

Accessed via newspapers.com

I have a fairly large collection of hymnals from various Christian traditions and a wide range of decades, as recent as the last several years.  My survey of hymnals published since 1990 and in my possession indicates that none of them contains any of Littlefield’s hymns.  This is unfortunate news.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIUS THE CENTURION, WITNESS TO THE CRUCIFIXION

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS, COFOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF THE ANNUNCIATION

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL CROSSMAN, ANGLICAN DEAN OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Milton Smith Littlefield, Jr.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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One response to “Feast of Milton Smith Littlefield (June 13)

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  1. Pingback: Milton S. Littlefield | GATHERED PRAYERS

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