Dichter : Bliss, Philip Paul (1838-1876)


Philip Paul Bliss (9 July 1838 ? 29 December 1876) was an American writer of hymns and a Gospel singer. It has been said that he possessed a remarkable versatility, if not depth, of talent. He wrote many well-known hymns, such as Almost Persuaded, and Hallelujah What a Saviour!

Early Life

Bliss was born in Rome, Pennsylvania, in a log cabin. His father was Isaac Bliss, a practicing Methodist, who taught the family to pray daily. Isaac loved music and allowed Bliss to develop his passion for singing.

As a boy, Bliss? family moved, first to Ohio, and then returned to Pennsylvania, settling in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Bliss had little formal education and was taught by his mother, from the Bible.

When 10, while selling vegetables, to help support the family, Bliss first heard a piano. At age 11 he left home to make his own living. He worked in timber camps and sawmills. While working he irregularly went to school to further his education.


At 17 Bliss finished his requirements to teach. The next year, in 1856, he became a schoolmaster at Hartsville, New York. During the summer, he worked on a farm.

In 1857 Bliss met JG Towner, who taught singing. Towner recognised Bliss? talent and gave him his first formal voice training. He also met William B Bradbury who persuaded him to become a music teacher. His first musical composition was sold for a flute. In 1858 he took up an appointment in Rome Academy, Pennsylvania.

In 1858, in Rome, Bliss met Lucy J. Young, who he married on 1 June 1859. She came from a musical family and encouraged the development of his talent. She was a Presbyterian and Bliss joined her Church.

Aged 22 Bliss became an itinerant music teacher. On horseback, he went from community to community accompanied by a melodeon. Bliss? wife?s grandmother lent Bliss $30 so that he could attend the Normal Academy of Music of New York for six weeks. Bliss was now recognised as an expert within his local area. He continued the itinerant teaching.

At this time he turned to composition. None of his songs were ever copyrighted.


In 1864 the Blisses moved to Chicago. Bliss was now 26. He became known as a singer and teacher. He wrote a number of gospel songs. Bliss was paid $100 for a concert tour which lasted only a fortnight. Bliss was amazed that so much money could be earned so quickly. The following week he was drafted for service in the Union Army. The war being almost over, this notice was cancelled after a couple of weeks.

Following this Bliss went on another concert tour, but this failed. He was, however, offered a position at Root and Cady Musical Publishers, at a salary of $150 per month. Bliss worked with this company from 1865 until 1873. He conducted musical conventions, singing schools and concerts for his employers. He continued to compose hymns, which were often printed in his employer?s books.

In 1869 Bliss formed an association with Dwight L. Moody. Moody and others urged Bliss to give up his job and become an missionary singer. In 1874 Bliss decided that he was called to the task of ?winning souls?. He then became a full-time evangelist. Bliss made significant amounts of money from royalties and gave them to charity and to support his evangelical endeavours.

On 29 December 1876 the Pacific Express train which Bliss and his wife were travelling in approached Ashtabula, Ohio. Crossing a trestle bridge, all carriages fell into the icy flood waters below. Bliss escaped the carriage but the carriages caught fire and Bliss returned to try and extricate his wife. No trace of either body was discovered. Ninety-two of the 160 passengers are believed to have died.

The Blisses were survived by their two sons, George and Philip Paul, then aged 4 and 1 respectively.

A monument to Bliss was erected in Rome, Pennsylvania.

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Lieder im Gesangbuch:
133 Herr, mach meine Seele Play MP3
374 Herrlich strahlt des Meisters Gnade Play MP3
410 Ich weiß nicht, wann Christus
201 Seht, wie Daniel in Babel betet Play MP3
411 Treff ich dich wohl bei der Quelle
132 Wer da will der komme
Bekannte Lieder nicht im Gesangbuch
At the feet of Jesus / Zu des Heilands F??en
Almost persuaded / Beinah bekehret
Dare to be a Daniel
Hold the Fort
My Redeemer
Where are the nine?
Wonderful Words of Life / Schalle wieder im h?hern Chor
I know not the hour
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
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