Samuel Adams Holyoke

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Samuel Adams Holyoke

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Elizur Holyoke and Hannah Peabody

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Samuel Adams Holyoke

Samuel Holyoke, American composer and teacher of vocal and instrumental music, was the son of Rev. Elizur Holyoke and Hannah Peabody. He was born on 15 October 1762 in Boxford, Massachusetts, in Essex County, and died on 7 February 1820, Concord, New Hampshire, in Merrimack County. He was a Congregationalist and a Mason, and never married.

After preparatory training at at Phillips Academy, Andover Holyoke matriculated at Harvard College in 1786. The source of his musical training is unknown, but he was composed music before he graduated from Harvard in 1789. In 1789-1790, he contributed four secular compositions to Isaiah Thomas’s Massachusetts Magazine. A prolific composer, he composed some 700 pieces, including psalm tunes and anthems and occasional pieces, some with instrumental accompaniment.

In 1793, Holyoke helped to found Groton Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, where he served as the first headmaster.[citation needed] In 1809–1810 Holyoke served as music instructor at Phillips Academy.

After his death, his music was largely forgotten. His importance to American music was summed up by music historian George Hood: "There was no man of his day that did more for the cause of music than Samuel Holyoke."

Published works

Harmonia Americana (Boston, 1791)
The Massachusetts Compiler (Boston, 1795, with Oliver Holden and Hans Gram)
"Exeter: for Thanksgiving" (Exeter, NH, 1798)
"Hark from the Tombs" and "Beneath the Honors" (Exeter, NH, 1800, in honor of George Washington)
The Instrumental Assistant (Exeter, NH, 1800)
A Dedication Service (Exeter, NH, 1801)
Occasional Music (Exeter, NH, 1802)
The Columbian Repository (Exeter, NH, 1803)
Masonic Music (Exeter, NH, 1803)
A Dedication Service (Salem, MA, 1804; different music from the 1801 publication)
The Christian Harmonist (Salem, MA, 1804)
The Occasional Companion, nos. 1-7) (Exeter, NH, Dedham, MA, and Boston, 1806-after 1810)
The Instrumental Assistant II (Exeter, NH, 1807)
The Vocal Companion (Exeter, NH, 1807)


Eskew, Harry, and Karl Kroeger (ed), Samuel Holyoke and Jacob Kimball: Selected Works (New York, 1998).
Metcalf, Frank J., American Writers and Compilers of Sacred Music (New York, 1925), 114-120.
Nichols, Andrew, "Genealogy of the Holyoke Family", Historical Collections of the Essex Institute 3 (1861): 57-61.
Perley, Sidney, The History of Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts (Boxford, MA, 1880.)
Willhide, J. Lawrence, "Samuel Holyoke: American Music Educator" (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1954).
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Samuel Adams Holyoke's Timeline

Age 58