Scripture Verse

Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10

Introduction

portrait
James M. Black
(1856–1938)

Words: Kath­ar­ine E. Pur­vis, in Songs of the Soul No. 2, by James M. Black (Cin­cin­na­ti, Ohio: Cur­tis & Jenn­ings, 1896).

Music: James M. Black (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Purv­is (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), or a bet­ter one of Black, would you ?

The song When the Saints Are March­ing In…is NOT the tra­di­tion­al When the Saints Go March­ing In. Ev­en though the ti­tles dif­fer by a word, sev­er­al au­thor­i­tat­ive mu­sic ref­er­ence books list Pur­vis and Black as the 1896 authors of When the Saints Go March­ing In.

As a con­sequence, ma­ny song col­lect­ions in a va­ri­e­ty of for­mats—book, re­cord, tape and CD—wrong­ly as­sign Kath­ar­ine E. Pur­vis and James M. Black the credit for this Am­er­i­can folk fa­vor­ite.

In truth, the pre­cise or­i­gins of When the Saints Go March­ing In is not known. At this point it is prob­ab­ly not pos­si­ble to trace the orig­in­al source of this er­ror, or to cor­rect it from spread­ing.

Long­time mu­sic pro­fess­or at Ly­coming Col­lege, Ma­ry Lan­don Rus­sell con­fus­es the two songs in her 1957 mas­ters the­sis at Penn State Un­i­ver­si­ty.

The ear­li­est au­thor­i­ta­tive ref­er­ence book with the er­ror ap­pears to be The Great Song The­saur­us by Ro­ger Lax and Fred­er­ick Smith, pub­lished by Ox­ford Un­i­ver­si­ty Press. On page 380 of the 1984 first edi­tion, the au­thors wrong­ly at­trib­ute When the Saints Go March­ing In to Kath­ar­ine E. Pur­vis and James M. Black in 1896.

Loyer, p. 14

Lyrics

Thro’ the shining gate,
Where the angels wait,
When the saints are marching in,
The redeemed shall come,
And be crowned at home,
When the saints are marching in.

Refrain

When the saints are marching in,
When the saints are marching in,
Joyful songs of salvation thro’ the sky shall ring,
When the saints are marching in.

Parted friends shall meet,
On the golden street,
When the saints are marching in,
Spotless robes shall wear,
Victor’s palms shall bear,
When the saints are marching in.

Refrain

Ev’ry tongue and race
Shall extol God’s grace,
When the saints are marching in,
And the blood-washed throng
Shall repeat the song,
When the saints are marching in.

Refrain

To the Lamb once slain,
But who lives again,

When the saints are marching in,
We shall offer praise
Thro’ eternal days,
When the saints are marching in.

Refrain