The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Charles Lewis Hutchins


Charles Lewis Hutchins born in Concord, New Hampshire, August 5, 1838. He graduated from Williams in 1861 with Master of Arts degree, and from the General Theological Seminary, New York City, in 1865 with a Doctor of Divinity degree. He entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church in 1865. In 1867, Rev. Hutchins was the Rector of Saint John's in Lowell. From 1869 to 1872 he served as an assistant pastor at St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo New York. In 1872 became rector of Grace Church, Medford, Massachusetts and served there until 1890. In 1871 and 1874 he was assistant secretary of the General Convention and in 1877 he was made Secretary of the Convention.

Medford is approximately 33 miles north-northwest of Boston (on Interstate 93), and Rev. Hutchins remained in the Boston area until his death in 1920. He began publishing around 1865 and produced a large number of books and hymnals for the Episcopalian Church, including

and numerous others.

He was just 34 when he edited "The Church Hymnal," the official hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. It had at least 68 editions and variants and was revised and enlarged in 1893. He was also the editor of "The Parish Choir," a weekly publication issued from 1874 to about 1919. "The Parish Choir" was both the name of the serial and the name of the Episcopal publishing house.

His largest volume was Carols Old and Carols New: For Use At Christmas and Other Seasons of the Christian Year (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916). It was 659 pages in length and contained 751 carols, about 63% were for Christmas (approximately 470). The Christmas carols were international in scope, and included both worldwide favorites and uncommon or unique compositions. It remains today the largest collection of carols ever printed in the English language.

Hutchin's Carols Old and Carols New contains three translations of Stille Nacht.  None gives the name of the translator.  They are:

Although common today, Hutchins’ Carols contained a number of features which were uncommon at the time, including a preface, a composer and music source index, a first-line index, a valuable four-page bibliography, and a moderate amount of data of the authorship of carols. Only 1000 copies were printed; the death of Rev. Hutchins in 1920 precluded another edition.

Twelve years later, it was eclipsed by The Oxford Book of Carols, edited by Percy Dearmer, R. Vaughan Williams, Martin Shaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1928). Studwell and Jones described the Oxford as "the world’s greatest carol compilation," no doubt due to its extensive historical notes (it contained 197 carols).


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