Hart Pease Danks

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Hart Pease Danks
Hart Pease Danks 1898.jpg
Background information
Born(1834-04-06)April 6, 1834
New Haven, Connecticut
DiedNovember 20, 1903(1903-11-20) (aged 69)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Years active1850s-1890s

Hart Pease Danks (6 April 1834 – 20 November 1903) was a musician who specialized in composing, singing and leading choral groups. He is best known for his 1873 composition, Silver Threads Among the Gold.


Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Danks moved with his family to Saratoga Springs, New York when he was eight. He studied music with Dr. E. Whiting, later moving to Chicago, where he worked as a carpenter in his father's construction business before embarking on a full-time music career.[1]

Gravestone of H.P. Danks, Kensico Cemetery, in Valhalla, New York

In 1858, he married Hattie R. Colahan.[2] In 1864, he moved to New York City. In 1873, he published his best known song, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (words by Eben E. Rexford), which sold over three million copies. Having sold the rights to it, though, he died penniless in a boarding house in Philadelphia, his last written words: "It’s hard to die alone".[3][4] His widow died, alone, in 1924.[5] Danks is buried at Kensico Cemetery, in Valhalla, New York.

Pease Danks was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. He wrote over 1,000 songs.[6]

His works also include several operettas, including Zanie (published 1887, to a libretto by Fanny Crosby)[7] and Pauline, or the Belle of Saratoga (ca.1874).[8]

Other collaborators and contributions.[edit]

  • Other lyricists who Danks worked with included Samuel N. Mitchell and Fanny Crosby.
  • In 1892, he published Superior Anthems for Church Choirs, and himself wrote numerous church hymns.[9]


  1. ^ Sanjek, Russell. American popular music and its business: the first four hundred years, Vol. II 1790 to 1909, p. 255-56 (1988)
  2. ^ Bomberger, E. Douglas. Brainard's biographies of American musicians, p.79-80 (1999)
  3. ^ (21 November 1903). Composer Found Dead Beside His Piano, The New York Times
  4. ^ Hoag, Doane R. (8 July 1988). His Love Ballad Was Not For Him, Reading Eagle
  5. ^ Brisbane, Arthur (30 March 1924). Today, Pittsburgh Press
  6. ^ The National cyclopaedia of American biography, Vol. VIII, p. 447 (1898)
  7. ^ who, under various pseudonyms, provided texts to many of his songs. See IMSLP and Neptune (2002)
  8. ^ Bradley, Ian C. (2010). Water Music: Music-Making in the Spas of Europe and North America. Oxford University Press. p. 169. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  9. ^ Our American music, three hundred years of it, p. 609 (1954)

External links[edit]