Protestant Hymnal Printed in India

Believed to be the first Protestant hymnal printed in India is Amos Sutton's Hymns Especially Designed for Divine Worship Public, Social, and Private, Selected from Various Authors (Cuttack, Calcutta, Orissa Mission Press, 1840). A copy of this scarce hymnal can be found in the Robert Guy McCutchan Collection in Special Collections, Honnold Library. Call number BV 510.O7 S88 1840

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Title Page of Sutton's Hymns

This small note about its printing is found at the end of the Preface:

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The Orissa Province had been under the control of Britain since the late 18th century. In the 19th century, control was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown. The Orissa Mission was the site of significant development when business and political enterprise brought with it the establishment of schools and missions, and by the 1860s, it was a center for printing and publishing of newspapers and journals.

Amos Sutton arrived in India around 1825 and established himself at Cattuck in the Orissa Province where he translated hymns into the Oriya language, among other activities. His hymnal from 1840 is printed in English and comprises texts edited by Sutton from various sources; in his Preface, Sutton admits he edited some source texts dramatically.

For many years Dean of the School of Music at DePauw University, McCutchan was editor of the 1935 edition of the Methodist hymnal. The McCutchan Collection is particularly rich in Methodist hymnals and psalters including early editions by John Wesley, but it also contains hymns that have been sung in America by all denominations.

The collection dates from the early 17th century to the present, and the majority are American publications. The range is broader than hymnology: song books of temperance societies, Grange and fraternal organizations, and political parties; Civil War songs; and children's song books are to be found among the titles.