William Batchelder Bradbury

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William Batchelder Bradbury

William Batchelder Bradbury (October 6, 1816 – January 7, 1868) was a musician who composed the tune to "Jesus Loves Me" and many other popular hymns.[1]


He was born on October 6, 1816, in York, Maine, where his father was the leader of a church choir. He had a brother, Edward G. Bradbury.

He moved with his parents to Boston and met Lowell Mason, and by 1834 was known as an organist. In 1840, he began teaching in Brooklyn, New York. In 1847 he went to Germany, where he studied harmony, composition, and vocal and instrumental music with the best masters.

In 1854, he started the Bradbury Piano Company, with his brother, Edward G. Bradbury in New York City.[1] William Bradbury is best known as a composer and publisher of a series of musical collections for choirs and schools. He was the author and compiler of fifty-nine books starting in 1841.[2]

In 1862, Bradbury found the poem "Jesus Loves Me". Bradbury wrote the music and added the chorus: "Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves me ..."

He died on January 7, 1868, in Bloomfield, New Jersey (now Montclair, New Jersey) at age 51.[1] He was buried in Bloomfield Cemetery in Bloomfield, New Jersey.


He composed many tunes, including those for "He Leadeth Me"; "Just As I Am"; "Sweet Hour of Prayer" (attributed to William W. Walford, 1772–1850);[3] "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" and "My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less", all of which can still be found in hynmbooks and songbooks today.


  • The Shawm (1853)
  • The Jubilee (1858)[1]
  • Cottage Melodies (1859)
  • The Golden Chain (1861)
  • "Hold On Abraham!" (1862)
  • The Key-Note and Pilgrims' Songs (1863)
  • The Golden Censer (1864)
  • Golden Trio (1864)
  • Temple Choir and Fresh Laurels (1867)
  • Clairiona (1867) compilation of previous works


  1. ^ a b c d Vicky Boyd (1996). "William Batchelder Bradbury". HymnSys. Retrieved 2019-08-19 – via The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.
  2. ^ Clint Bonner (August 2, 1969). "A Hymn is Born". Evening Independent. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  3. ^ "History of Hymns: "Sweet Hour of Prayer"". umcdiscipleship.org. Discipleship Ministries.

External links[edit]

Media related to William Batchelder Bradbury at Wikimedia Commons