Reference Entry

Doane, William Howard

Corey J. Murray

in American National Biography Online


Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1803878

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Doane, William Howard (03 February 1832–24 December 1915), industrialist, inventor, and composer and editor of gospel hymns, was born in Preston, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Doane and Frances Treat. His father was a partner in the cotton manufacturing firm of Doane and Treat, in nearby Voluntown. As a child, William displayed an early aptitude for music. He attended country singing schools with his brothers and sisters, and by age ten he was playing flute with the local church choir. He next mastered the violin and the double bass. In 1846 he enrolled at Woodstock Academy, a Congregationalist school, to complete his high school education. The teenage William served as choir director at Woodstock and attended Sunday meetings at the nearby Baptist meetinghouse, where in 1847 he made a full conversion, forsaking the Congregationalism of his father for his mother’s religion. In 1848, the year he graduated, William Doane composed his first musical piece, “The Grave beneath the Willow.”...

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Subjects: Engineering and Technology ; Composition

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