The Moravian Music Foundation preserves, shares, and celebrates Moravian musical culture.
Many of us smile at the memory of hearing George Hamilton IV sing and play. Maybe you were present at one or more of his “A Moravian Country Christmas” concerts … or “Thanksgiving in the Country” or “Easter in the Country” … I remember hearing him sing “Jesus Makes My Heart Rejoice” and “Morning Star”. After his death in 2014 the family asked if we would be willing to house his papers with us. As he was undoubtedly a Moravian musician of note, who loved his Moravian roots, we were delighted to accept, and since then the George Hamilton IV Collection has grown to 10 “gray boxes” filled with wonderful things!
What’s in the George Hamilton IV Collection? Here’s a short list …
Biographies and family histories, descriptions of the music and life of George Hamilton IV and George Hamilton V, a Hamilton family history
Papers, flyers, and programs for “Easter in the Country”, “Thanksgiving in the Country”, and “A Moravian Country Christmas
Travel itineraries – where did he perform and when?
Posters, programs, and press clippings by the thousands
Materials related to his appearances on the Billy Graham Crusades worldwide
Information and correspondence relating to his many international travels
Photographs and program books from festivals and the Grand Old Opry
Having seen all of this, where would someone go to find out more about his life? Other places in the Archie K. Davis Center, of course! The memoir read at his funeral is housed in the memoir files of the Southern Province Archives; various photographs and programs from his appearances at the Moravian Music Festivals of 1972 and 1990 are in the Festival files and photograph files; and his many recordings are housed in the Music Foundation’s recordings collection.
A recent addition to the collection was the gift of Jan Stein – his famous LP recording, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth”, signed by George himself!
So. You don’t have to be a “classical” musician to be esteemed by the Moravian Music Foundation. George Hamilton IV’s music spoke to the hearts of many, many people, and he was indeed an ambassador for the Moravians – faith and music – around the world. Thank you to his family for allowing us to care for the paper and sound records of a remarkable Moravian musical life!