Catherine Winkworth

Translator of German hymns


September 13, 1827
September 13, 1878
Related topics
German literature, Bio-bibliography, Biography, Winkworth, Susanna,--1820-1884, History,


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Born in London on September 13, 1827, Winkworth's family moved to Manchester when she was two. In 1862 she moved with her father and sisters to Clifton, a suburb of Bristol, where she became active in promoting higher education for women. This interest manifested itself in her translations from German of biographies of two founders of sisterhoods for the poor and the sick: Life of Pastor Fliedner, 1861, and Life of Amelia Sieveking, 1863.

Her interest in German hymns was sparked by Chevelier Bunsen, the German ambassador to England, who presented her a copy of Andachtsbuch, a German devotional book with German hymns, which opened to treasures of German hymnody to her. She went on to publish two series of Lyra Germanica, 1855 and 1858. The first series were 103 translations from Bunsen's Versuch eines allgemeinen Gesang und Gebetbuchs, 1833, which went to 23 editions; the second series contained 121 more translations from the same book and was published in 12 editions. In 1863 she published the Chorale Book for England which contained some of the earlier translations with their proper chorale tunes. And in 1869 she published Christian Singers of Germany, which contained the biographies of German hymnwriters.

Catherine Winkworth died suddenly from heart disease on July 1, 1878, at Monnetier in Savoy, France.

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