Harry T. Burleigh

From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance

 

Chapter 13: St. George's Becomes Mr. Burleigh's Church

 


 
Figure 1
 
  Figure 1: St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church, Stuyvesant Square, New York City—page 214. Frontispiece, St. George's Church New York, by Elizabeth Moulton, 1964.  


 
Figure 2
 
  Figure 2: Harry T. Burleigh in his St. George's choir robe, 1894—page 215. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 3
 
  Figure 3: Rev. William S. Rainsford, the Rector at St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church in Stuyvesant Square from 1883 to 1906 page 217. When Burleigh auditioned for the position of baritone soloist, the candidates sang behind a screen. When the committee saw that they had chosen a young black man, they wanted to correct their "error." But Rev. Rainsford said, "This is the voice you chose; this is our soloist." Chief Warden J. P. Morgan said, "He's my man!" Photograph from from St. George's Church New York, by Elizabeth Moulton, 1964, page 63.  


 
Figure 4
 
  Figure 4: St. George's Wardens during Burleigh's early years at St. George's—page 216. Photograph by Jean E. Snyder.  


 
Figure 5
 
  Figure 5: Burleigh in 1906—Musical Director of the St. George's Men's Club minstrel show—page 224. Photograph from the 1907 minstrel show program.  


 
Figure 6
 
  Figure 6: The 1910 St. George's Men's Club Minstrel Show—page 226. Burleigh, the Musical Director, can be seen with three others not in blackface in the middle of the first and second rows. Photograph, St. George's Annual Report, Easter 1911.  


 
Figure 7
 
  Figure 7: Rev. Karl Reiland, St. George's Rector from 1912–1936—page 228. Like Rev. William S. Rainsford, Rev. Reiland was very appreciative of Burleigh's singing, and the Annual Vesper Service of Negro Spirituals, which began in 1924, was an important tradition during his tenure as rector. Photograph from St. George's Church New York, by Elizabeth Moulton, 1964, page 107.  


 
Figure 9
 
  Figure 9: The pillar in the St. George's Choir Room with Burleigh's name engraved, honoring his twenty-five years of service in the choir—page 229. When this photograph was taken in 2002, the choir room was a thrift shop. Photograph by Jean E. Snyder.  


 
Figure 10
 
  Figure 10: The program for the first Annual Vesper Service of Negro Spirituals, March 30, 1924—page 231. This was the thirtieth anniversary of Burleigh's hiring as baritone soloist at St. George's. The Annual Vesper Service of Negro Spirituals tradition continued for thirty-two years, until 1954, five years after Burleigh's death. Program courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 11
 
  Figure 11: Dapper Mr. Burleigh standing beside St. George's Church—page 236. Burleigh was known for his spats, his bowler hat (which he tipped in greeting his many friends) and his cane. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 12
 
  Figure 12: Elderly Burleigh singing, 1940s—page 237. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 13
 
  Figure 13: Guiness Book of World Records—page 216. "Harry Burleigh Sang the 'Palms' on Palm Sunday for 48 Years in Succession."  


 
Figure 14
 
  Figure 14: St. George's Parish House entrance, where the parish offices were located in 2004—page 219. Photograph by Jean E. Snyder.  


 
Figure 15
 
  Figure 15: St. George's Chapel entrance, where Burleigh's body lay in state two days before his funeral in 1949—page 239. Photograph taken in 2004 by Jean E. Snyder.  


 
Figure 16
 
  Figure 16: Parish House entrance in 2004. Photography by Jean E. Snyder.  


 
Figure 17
 
  Figure 17: St. George's altar in 2004—page 239. Photograph by Jean E. Snyder.  

 

 

 

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