1858–1901
portrait

Au­gust 3, 1858, Syr­a­cuse, New York.

May 18, 1901, Na­ples, It­a­ly.

Oak­wood Cem­e­tery, Syr­a­cuse, New York.

portrait

Babcock was the hus­band of Ka­ther­ine El­i­ot Tall­man (mar­ried 1882, Pough­keep­sie, New York).

He at­tend­ed Syr­a­cuse Un­i­ver­si­ty and Au­burn The­o­log­ic­al Sem­in­ary. He ranked high as a stu­dent and par­ti­ci­pat­ed in both ath­let­ic and mu­sic­al ac­tiv­i­ties. Tall, broad shoul­dered, and mus­cu­lar, he was pre­si­dent of the base­ball team, an ex­pert pitch­er, and a good swim­mer.

He played sev­er­al mu­sic­al ins­tru­ments, dir­ect­ed the school or­ches­tra, and played and com­posed for the or­gan. He was a sin­ger and lead­er of the glee club. He could do im­per­so­na­tions, was clev­er at draw­ing, and had a knack with tools. He was also an av­id fish­er­man. He might have become a pro­fes­sion­al mu­si­cian had he not chos­en the min­is­try.

His first pas­tor­ate was at the First Pres­by­ter­i­an Church, Lock­port, New York. In 1886, he was called to Brown Mem­or­i­al Church, Bal­ti­more, Mar­y­land, where he oft­en coun­seled stu­dents at Johns Hop­kins Un­i­ver­si­ty.

As his fame spread, he was asked to preach at col­leg­es all over Am­er­i­ca. Bab­cock was not a great the­o­lo­gian or deep think­er, but had a tal­ent for pre­sent­ing spir­it­u­al and eth­ic­al truths with fresh­ness and ef­fect. In do­ing this, he was aid­ed by his ag­ile mind, wide range of know­ledge, dra­mat­ic abil­i­ty, speech flu­en­cy, and mag­net­ic per­son­al­i­ty.

After al­most 14 years in Bal­ti­more, Bab­cock was called to the pres­ti­gious pas­tor­ate of the Brick Pres­by­ter­i­an Church in New York Ci­ty, to fill the va­can­cy left by the re­tire­ment of Hen­ry Van Dyke. Bab­cock had been there on­ly 18 months when he made a trip to the Ho­ly Land. While ov­er­seas, he died of bru­cel­lo­sis.

Though Bab­cock pub­lished noth­ing dur­ing his life, his wife Kath­er­ine col­lect­ed and pub­lished ma­ny of his writ­ings af­ter his un­time­ly death. A vol­ume of his po­ems con­tained This Is My Fa­ther’s World. Bab­cock, of course, nev­er heard his fa­mous hymn sung.

  1. Back of the Loaf Is the Snowy Flour
  2. Be Strong!
  3. Dear Savior, Ere We Part
  4. Gaily the Bells Are Ring­ing
  5. God’s Bound­less Love
  6. Little Bird, Lit­tle Bird, Sing­ing in the Tree
  7. No Dis­tant Lord Have I
  8. O Bless­èd Sav­ior, Lord of Love
  9. Rest in the Lord, My Soul
  10. Shining Sun, Shin­ing Sun
  11. This Is My Fa­ther’s World
  12. We Thank Thee, Dear Fa­ther
  13. When the Great Sun Sinks to His Rest
  1. Prayer