Houghton, James R. (James Russell), 1899-1990

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Musician, educator, sacred music scholar.

Born April 11, 1899 in Davenport, Iowa, where his father was Chief of the Fire Deparment. With a rich baritone voice, he studied under Dr. Philip Greely Clapp at the University of Iowa, auditioned at age nineteen for Antonio Scotti of the Metropolitan Opera, then studied at Harvard University with Dr. Archibald T. Davison, conductor of the Harvard Glee Club. He gave recitals in Boston, Berlin and New York, continuing voice studies under Stephen S. Townsend, Paul Eisler, Louis Bachner, and Coenraad V. Bos. He 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.

"Prof." 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). Dr. Houghton retired to California, where he died on May 2, 1990, at the age of 91.

From the description of A Collection of papers from the career of James R. Houghton 1931-1964 (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 41212105

Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Methodist Church--Hymns--Sources
Hymns, English
Church music
Methodist Church--Hymns


Birth 1899

Death 1990


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SNAC ID: 5859105