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Pure Gold for the Sunday School

Hymnal owned by the Charles Ingalls family. — Webster, 1882

The music of the Sunday School is now acknowledged to be an important factor in that grand educational force which is levering up the rising generation to a plane of personal morality and Christian enlightenment… We commend to our Sunday Schools everywhere this collection of “Pure Gold.” – Contributors to Pure Gold for the Sunday School.


In a letter dated August 5, 1940, Carrie Ingalls Swanzey wrote to her sister, Laura Ingalls Wilder:

…I believe we sang the same pieces (hymns) in Sunday-school that were used in church, it has been later years when they got to thinking the old hymns were too slow and solemn for the younger generation. Now there is No. 8, 13, 18, 25, 42, 74. I remember all those and a few more… of course they were all written before 1871; they must have been picked for the best and more modern, though of course they did not say “modern” then.

The numbers above refer to hymns in the Ingallses’ copy of Pure Gold for the Sunday School, by Reverend Robert Lowry and W. Howard Doane, published in 1871 by Biglow & Main in New York. Laura Ingalls Wilder mentioned some of the hymns from this book in the De Smet Little House books. See my Prairie Song Companion for more information about these LH songs and others.

The Ingallses’ copy of Pure Gold, signed by Laura, R.A. Boast, and Charles Ingalls, is in the Keystone Historical Museum, 410 3rd Street, Keystone, South Dakota 57751.

Here’s an online copy of PURE GOLD FOR THE SUNDAY SCHOOL.


Pure Gold for the Sunday School, see also hymnal