1840–1923

Introduction

portrait

Born: March 13, 1840, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Died: De­cem­ber 15, 1923, Ro­ches­ter, New York.

Buried: Mount Hope Ce­me­te­ry, Ro­ches­ter, New York.

portrait

Biography

William was the son of Ez­ra Stiles Gan­nett and An­na Lin­zee Til­den, and hus­band of Ma­ry Thorn Lew­is.

He was ed­u­cat­ed at Har­vard Un­i­ver­si­ty (BA 1860, MA 1863).

After the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war, he spent three years work­ing with freed slaves in Port Roy­al, South Ca­ro­li­na. Af­ter­ward, he toured Eur­ope (1865–56), then re­turned to Har­vard, gra­du­at­ed from its Di­vi­ni­ty School, and be­came a Un­i­tar­i­an min­is­ter in 1868.

He served in Mil­wau­kee, Wis­con­sin (1868–70); East Lex­ing­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts (1871–72); St. Paul, Min­ne­so­ta (1877–83); Hins­dale, Il­li­nois (1887–88); and Ro­ches­ter, New York (1889–1908).

He was al­so a lead­er in the wo­men’s suf­frage move­ment, found­ed the Boys Ev­en­ing Home as­so­ci­a­tion, and was ac­tive in ma­ny oth­er caus­es.

Works

He helped ed­it Un­i­ty Hymns and Chor­als, 1880. His oth­er works in­clude:

Poem

CHRISTMAS

Still the angels sing on high,
Still the bearded men draw nigh,
Bringing worship with the morn,
When a little child is born;
Baby-glory in the place,
Star-look on the mother’s face,
Psalm within the mother’s heart,
Christmas all in counterpart!

Quaintest wight that ever stirred,
With Thy ears that never heard,
Eyes that eye a brand-new world,
Tiny limbs but half uncurled,
Wee-bit Adam! wee-bit Christ!
Earth, by Thee new paradised,
Blooms to miracles again,
Echoes God’s Good-will to men!

Blessings on the little child
In the cave far-off and wild!
For that nursery divine
Tells me well, O baby mine,
That Thou art Emmanuel,
God with us, come here to dwell,
Come to say, Since time began,
Son of God is Son of Man.

William Chan­ning Gan­nett, 1875

Sources

Lyrics