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Historical Figures, II

April 5, 2011

Canon Charles Winfred Douglas (1867-1944)

Priest, Religious, Organist, Composer, Chant Scholar, Champion of the English Catholic Use, and Tireless Servant of the Church.

Winfred Douglas was born on 15 February, 1867 in Oswego, New York.  He attended Syracuse University, graduating with a BMus in 1891. During his time at Syracuse he sang in the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Upon graduation, he took holy orders and served as the Canon Organist at St. Paul’s from 1892-1893.  He studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York City and was ordained a Priest in 1899, but remained a champion of church music, particularly plainchant, for the rest of his life. He became choirmaster for the Community of St. Mary in 1906, instituting new methods for the community of sisters to sing the hours in English. He was the editor of the Episcopal Church’s 1918 New Hymnal, and was also instrumental in the creation of the Hymnal 1940.  He died in January of 1944.  His work with plainchant hymnody is still the benchmark for accompanied plainsong in the Episcopal church, as evinced by his continued presence in the 1982 Hymnal.  His list of published works is extensive, some of which are available online at Project Canterbury.

Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ is honored. Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.

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