1835–1902
portrait

Jan­u­a­ry 25, 1835, Flo­ri­da, New York.

Au­gust 30, 1902, at the home of his daug­hter, Mrs. Tho­mas G. Bolles, in Or­ange, New Jer­sey.

Seward came from a dis­ting­uished fa­mi­ly (Will­iam H. Sew­ard, Sec­re­ta­ry of State to Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln, was his se­cond cou­sin).

Theodore at­tend­ed the Nor­mal Mu­sic­al In­sti­tute at North Read­ing, Mas­sa­chu­setts, where he stu­died with Lo­well Ma­son, George Root, and Tho­mas Hast­ings. He then be­came a pro­fess­or at the Teach­ers’ Col­lege in New York (lat­er merged in­to Co­lum­bia Un­i­ver­si­ty).

He lived in Ro­ches­ter, New York (where he married Mary Cog­ges­hall in 1860), then moved to Or­ange, New Jer­sey, in 1868.

He was su­per­vis­or of mu­sic in the pub­lic schools of Or­ange and sur­round­ing ci­ties, and or­gan­ist and mu­sic­al di­rect­or in se­ver­al church­es. He achieved na­tion­al fame as a com­pos­er, teach­er, ed­it­or of mu­sic per­i­o­di­cals, and au­thor of ed­u­ca­tion­al works.

Among Sew­ard’s ef­forts was col­lect­ing Af­ri­can-Amer­i­can spir­it­uals, more than a hun­dred of which were pub­lished in Ju­bilee Songs (New York: Big­low & Main), in con­nection with the Fisk Ju­bi­lee Sing­ers, who raised sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand dollars by their con­certs in Am­er­i­ca and Europe for their un­i­ver­si­ty at Nash­ville, Ten­nes­see. Sew­ard was the group’s mu­sic­al di­rect­or and voice train­er dur­ing their se­cond Eur­o­pe­an tour.

Seward or­ganized the Bro­ther­hood of Chris­tian Un­i­ty (1891), the Don’t Wor­ry Club (1897), and the Gold­en Rule Bro­ther­hood (1901). He tra­veled ex­ten­sive­ly through­out Eur­ope and Amer­i­ca. While at the Crys­tal Pal­ace in Lon­don dur­ing Queen Vic­tor­ia’s Gold­en Ju­bi­lee, he was called up­on to lead the sing­ing of God Save the Queen.

He ed­it­ed The New York Mu­sic­al Pi­o­neer (1864), The New York Mu­sic­al Ga­zette (1867–73), The Ton­ic Sol-fa Ad­vo­cate (1881–85), and Mu­sic­al Re­form (1886–88). His works in­clude:

  1. Affton
  2. Go and Tell Je­sus
  3. Is There One for Me?
  4. Our Mission Field at Home
  5. Praise Our Cre­at­or
  6. Ring the Bells, the Christ­mas Bells

Seward’s bur­i­al place