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