Born: March 12, 1826, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Died: November 25, 1899, Plainfield, New Jersey.
Buried: Hillside Cemetery, Plainfield, New Jersey.
Lowry attended the University at Lewisburg (later renamed Bucknell University), where he became a professor of literature. He was ordained as a Baptist minister and pastored at West Chester, Pennsylvania; Bloomingdale Baptist Church, New York City; Hanson Place Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York; First Baptist Church, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; and Park Avenue Baptist Church, Plainfield, New Jersey. He also worked as a music editor at the Biglow Publishing Company. He wrote about 500 Gospel tunes, and jointly edited the following volumes:
* Happy Voices, 1865
* Gospel Melodies, 1868
* Bright Jewels (New York: Biglow & Main, 1869)
* Pure Gold, 1871
* Royal Diadem, 1873
* Temple Anthems, 1873
* Hymn Service, 1871, 1872 & 1873
* Royal Diadem for the Sunday School, with Howard Doane (New York: Biglow & Main: 1873)
* Tidal Wave, 1874
* Brightest and Best, with Howard Doane (New York: Biglow & Main: 1875)
* Welcome Tidings: A New Collection of Sacred Songs for the Sunday School (with Howard Doane & Ira Sankey) (New York: Biglow & Main, 1877)
* Chautauqua Carols, 1878
* Gospel Hymn and Tune Book, with Howard Doane (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 1879)
* Hymn Service for the Sunday School, with Howard Doane, D. A. Whedon & John H. Vincent (New York: Biglow & Main: 1879)
* Good as Gold, with Howard Doane (New York: Biglow & Main: 1880)
* Our Glad Hosannas, 1882
* Joyful Lays (with Howard Doane) (New York: Biglow & Main,1884)
* The Glad Refrain (with Howard Doane) (New York: Biglow & Main, 1886)
* Select Gems (with Howard Doane) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: American Baptist Publication Society, 1889)
* Hall, pp. 71-75
* Hughes, pp. 476-7
* Hustad, p. 276
* Nutter, p. 460
* Randel, pp. 520-1
1. Angel’s Song, The
2. Chorus of Fire
3. How Can I Keep from Singing?
4. Lead Them to Thee
5. Low in the Grave He Lay
6. Nothing but the Blood
7. Only One Name
8. Shall We Gather at the River?
9. We Are Pilgrims of a Day
10. Where Is My Boy Tonight?
1. All the Way
2. At the Cross There’s Room
3. Entreat Me Not to Leave Thee
4. Follow On
5. Glad Tidings
6. Heavenly Father
7. Here Is Love
8. Hide Thou Me
9. Home at Last
10. It Is I
11. Marching to Zion
12. Mistakes of My Life, The
14. Never Shone a Light So Fair!
15. No Hope in Jesus
16. Oh, How Sweet When We Mingle
17. One More Day’s Work
19. River of Life
20. Room for the Penitent
21. So Near to the Kingdom
22. Something for Jesus
25. Wake Every Tuneful String
26. When the Comforter Came
27. Wholly Thine
Robert Lowry was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 12, 1826. He was converted at the age of seventeen, and from that moment began laboring for the Saviour in Christian work, especially in Sunday schools. Though his parents were Presbyterian, a careful study of the scriptures convinced Lowry to become a Baptist, which he remained all his life. Soon after the commencement of his service, he felt called to the ministry, pursuing training to that end from Lewisburgh University, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1854.
A faithful Baptist preacher from age 28 until his death in 1899, Lowry pastored churches in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. He was given an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Lewisburgh, where he was a professor for six years. Though he was a skilled preacher, he was more widely known for his role as a writer of sacred music. While he preferred to minimize his influence, Lowry is responsible for many hymnal publications, and from his pen flowed a great many melodies and lyrics that are well-loved centuries later.
“Strange to say, Dr. Lowry set lightly by his hymns and tunes, and deprecated much mention of them though he could not deny their success. An active Christian since seventeen years of age, through his early pulpit service, his six years’ professorship, and the long pastorate in Plainfield, N.J., closed by his death, he considered preaching to be his supreme function as it certainly was his first love. Music was to him “a side-issue,” an ’efflorescence,” and writing a hymn ranked far below making and delivering a sermon. “I felt a sort of meanness when I began to be known as a composer.”
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