Samuel A. Ward

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Samuel Augustus Ward

Samuel Augustus Ward (Dec. 28, 1847 – Sept. 28, 1903) was an American organist and composer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he studied music in New York and became an organist at Grace Episcopal Church in his home town in 1880.

He is remembered for the 1882 tune "Materna," which he intended as a setting for the hymn "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem." This was published ten years later, in 1892. Later still, in 1910, after Ward had died, the tune was combined by a publisher with the Katharine Lee Bates poem "America," itself first published in 1895, to create the patriotic song "America the Beautiful." Ward never met Bates.

Samuel Augustus Ward was the founder and first director of the still extant Orpheus Club of Newark, where he died in 1903 leaving no surviving children[citation needed]. Buried in Mount Plea­sant Cem­e­te­ry in the same city, he was the last in an unbroken line of Samuel Wards, beginning with the Rhode Island Governor and Representative to the Continental Congress. Ward was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

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