Phoebe Palmer Knapp

8 March 1839–10 July 1908

Phoebe Palmer Knapp, A Woman of the Century (1893).

MRS. PHOEBE PALMER KNAPP, musician and author, born in New York, N.Y., 8th March, 1839. She is the daughter of Dr. Walter C. and Phoebe Palmer, of New York City. Her mother was eminent as a religious author and teacher. It has been estimated that forty-thousand souls were converted  through their labors. Their home was a home of prayer and song. Mrs. Knapp early showed musical ability, both in singing and composition. She became the wife of Joseph F. Knapp in 1855. In her new relation, opportunity was furnished for the development of her gifts. Her husband was the superintendent of South Second Street Methodist Episcopal Sunday-school, and later of the St. John’s Methodist Episcopal Sunday-school of Brooklyn, N.Y. Under their labors those schools became famous. She wrote much of the music sung by the schools. Her first book was entitled Notes of Joy (New York, 1869). It contained one-hundred original pieces written by Mrs. Knapp, and had a wide circulation and great popularity. She is also the author of the cantata, “The Prince of Peace,” and many popular songs. Her organ is her favorite companion. She writes music, not as a profession, but as an inspiration.

A Woman of the Century (1893)
ed. Frances Willard & Mary Livermore

Mrs. Joseph Fairchild Knapp, a daughter of the late Mrs. Phoebe Palmer, and one of the Board of Directors of the International Sunshine Society, resides at the Hotel Savoy, Fifth Avenue, New York City, where she has most elegant apartments and what is said to be the largest organ in the world in a private home. She has had published about five hundred gospel songs, some of which have been translated into every language of Christendom, the best known being “Blessed Assurance,” “Nearer the Cross,” “Everlasting Love,” “Wonderful Savior,” “Come and Worship,” etc. Such excellent compositions as these easily place Mrs. Knapp among the foremost gospel song composers of America, and she is as pleasing and popular in person as her music is excellent in character.

by A.J. Showalter
The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers (1904)

Featured Hymns:

Blessed assurance

Collections of hymns:

Notes of Joy for the Sabbath School (1869): PDF

Hymns & Music for the 28th Anniversary of the New Haven Sunday School Union (1870): WorldCat

Bible School Songs (1873): WorldCat

see also:
Guide to Holiness, ed. Walter C. & Phoebe Palmer (NY: 1864-1883)

The Revivalist, ed. Joseph Hillman (1868):

“Open the gates to the temple,” Phoebe Knapp & Fanny Crosby (1892): WorldCat

The Epworth Hymnal (1885)
The Epworth Hymnal No. 2 (1891)


Methodist Collection, Styberg Library, Garrett-Evangelical Divinity School, Northwestern University:

Related Resources:

“Mrs. Phoebe Palmer Knapp,” A Woman of the Century, ed. Frances Willard & Mary Livermore (Buffalo, N.Y.: C.W. Moulton, 1893), pp. 439-440:

A.J. Showalter, “Mrs. Joseph Fairfield Knapp,” The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers (Dalton, GA: A.J. Showalter, 1904):

Edith L. Blumhofer, “Phoebe Palmer Knapp,” Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), pp. 225-233.

Edward L. Lach, Jr., “Joseph Fairchild Knapp,” American National Biography:

Anne Bagnall Yardley, “Phoebe Palmer Knapp,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

Paul C. Echols & Esther R. Crookshank, “Phoebe Palmer Knapp,” Grove Music Online:

Phoebe Palmer Knapp,