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Sumner Salter Edit Profile

composer , director.

Sumner Salter, American composer, director. Member Company E. 20th Regiment, Massachusetts State Guard. A founder American Guild Organists (warden, 1899-1900); member Alpha Delta Phi, Pi Gamma Museum.


Salter, Sumner was born on June 24, 1856 in Burlington, Iowa, United States. Son of Review William and Mary Ann (Mackintire) Salter.


Bachelor of Arts, Amherst, 1877. Studied music in Boston with Eugene Thayer, J. K. Paine, J. C. D. Parker and George L. Osgood.


Began as teacher, Petersilea Academy of Music, Boston, 1878. Director Arion Club (male voices). Organist 1st Unitarian Church, Lynn, Eliot Congressional Church, Roxbury, Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, Cleveland, O., 1879-1881.

St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church, Syracuse, New York, and conductor Cecilia Society, 1881-1886. Organist 1st Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia., and conductor Atlanta Music Association, 1886-1889. Organist 1st Presbyterian Church.

New York, 1889-1892, West End Collegiate Church, 1892-1900, Sage Chapel, Cornell Univercity, 1900-1902, Broadway Tabernacle, New York, 1902-1905. Director of music Williams College, 1905-1923. Conductor Mendelssohn Choir, Williamstown.

Organist Pan-American, St. Louis and San Francisco expns.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Early Organs in America, 1890. Ornaments in Bach’s Organ Works, 1930. Appoggiaturas in the Solos of Handel’s Messiah, 1931.

      Early Encouragements to American Composers, 1932. The M.T.N.A. in its Early Relation to the American Composer, 1932. What Makes a Good Touch, 1934.

      Etc. Composer of sopgs, part songs and anthems for men’s, women’s and mixed voices, church and organ music, arrangements, transcriptions, etc. Conducted performance of Handel’s “Messiah” April 1887, Atlanta, Georgia. Editor The Pianist and Organist, New York, 1895-1898.

      Contributor to many musical periodicals.


Member Company E. 20th Regiment, Massachusetts State Guard. A founder American Guild Organists (warden, 1899-1900). Member Alpha Delta Phi, Pi Gamma Museum.


Married Mary E. Turner, May 26, 1881. Children: Edward Winthrop, Harold (deceased), Edith Marie, William Frost.

Review William Salter

Mary Ann (Mackintire) Salter

Mary E. Turner

Edward Winthrop Salter

Harold Salter (deceased)

Edith Marie Salter

William Frost Salter