Dr. James Russell Houghton (1899-1990) came to Boston University in 1927 as Instructor in Worship and Church Music, rising to Assistant Professor in 1929 and Professor of Church Music and Worship in 1937 following his graduation from Simpson College with the Mus.D. degree.
Dr. Houghton led the Seminary Singers and founded the Boston University Glee Club, served as Director of Music for the General Conferences of the Methodist Church (1939-1960), as well as serving on the Hymnal Committees (1935, 1964) and Worship Committees (1944, 1964). He created the New England Singers, which provided music for Dr. William L. Stidger's radio sermon program sponsored by Fleischmann's Yeast (1937-39).
Hymnals and Church Music
Although his archival papers have been processed, the considerable church music resources collected by James Russell Houghton during his 37-year (1927-1964) career at BU remain uncataloged. The donation includes substantial materials related to 20th-century Methodist worship, especially hymnody. (Houghton served on revision committees for the Book of Worship in 1944 and 1964 and for the hymnal in 1935 and 1966. He was also the director of music at eight General Conferences from 1939 to 1960.)
The collection contains papers from the various activities during Dr. Houghton's life, primarily 1931-1964. Included are: Minutes of the Joint Hymnal Commission (1931-1934) with resource materials; Preliminary report of the Commission on Rituals and Orders of Worship (1944); Minutes of the Commission on Worship and the Arts (1955-56) and later Commission on Worship (1956-1960), including some correspondence; Minutes, correspondence and other resource materials from the Commission on Worship and Hymnal Committee (1960-64), with a collection of general Methodist resource materials. From Boston University, the collection includes: Programs and Handbills for the University Chorus and Glee Clubs (1936-1964); Seminary Singers programs and tour records (1936-1964); and other scattered music, programs, correspondence (mostly from 1937-38); Sermons from Dr. Stidger's radio program (1937-39) annotated with hymns presented, plus correspondence and fan letters to the New England Singers. Memorabilia and scrapbooks, mostly from the Glee Club and Seminary Singers.