"Old New Hampshire" with words by Dr. John F. Holmes and music by Maurice Hoffmann.
Source: New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 3:7
New Hampshire has the unusual distinction of having nine state songs, with one of them being "official" and the others "honorary." This came about by legislative votes over a quarter of a century, and was finally agreed upon in the 1977 session.
Back in 1949, the Legislature adopted "Old New Hampshire" as the official state song. It was written in 1926, with the music by Maurice Hoffman, Jr., organist of the Franklin Street Congregational Church in Manchester, and the words by Dr. John F. Holmes of that city. The 1941 Legislature turned down this song, and the 1943 Legislature killed a bill proposed by Rep. Samuel P. Philbrook of Belmont, for a $1,500 public contest to pick a state song, with a $500 prize for the music and $300 for the words, along with $700 for a team of judges and related expenses.
The 1963 Legislature approved a "Second State Song." It was "New Hampshire, My New Hampshire," by Julius Richelson and Walter P. Smith of Plymouth. Then the 1973 Legislature added a "Third State Song." It was "New Hampshire Hills," with the music by Tom Powers of Detroit, Michigan, son of retired Director Edward Powers of the State Sweepstakes Commission, and the late Paul S. Maurer, state poet laureate.
The 1977 Legislature voted two unusual song laws. Early in March it adopted a "Fourth State Song." It was "Autumn in New Hampshire," by Leo Austin of Warner. At the same time the legislators created an interim board to recommend one official state song, with the label "honorary" for each of the others.
Rep. Richardson D. Benton of Chester, chairman of the House Committee on Public Protection and Veterans Affairs, became coordinator of a State Song Selection Board. Appointed by the Governor and Council were William E. Elwell of Portsmouth, who became chairman, and Ted Hebert and Robert F. Thibeault of Manchester, along with Senator Robert F. Bossie of Manchester, named by the Senate President, and Rep. Jane F. Sanders of Alton Bay, named by the House Speaker.
Three months after this Board was launched, the Legislature enacted another song law, effective June 15. This statute added four more songs to the listing of state songs, with a proviso that if the Board did not designate any of this quartet as the official state song, they would become "honorary." The Board heard and considereda total of 21 songs, all submitted by New Hampshire residents.
Announcement of the name of the official song was made in Representatives Hall on November 29, 1977, when Mrs. Gale Thomson, wife of Governor Meldrim Thomson, Jr., drew the choice from a sealed envelope in which the name had been placed by the Board.
The four additional state songs were "New Hampshire’s Granite State" by Annie B. Currier of Londonderry; "Oh, New Hampshire (You’re My Home)" by Brownie McIntosh of Hampton; "The Old Man Of The Mountain" by Paul Belanger of Berlin, and "The New Hampshire State March" by Rene Richards of Nashua.
Coordinator Benton officially reported that the Board had voted to give the exclusive title of the official state song to the original state song of "Old New Hampshire," and this action is officially recorded as a footnote to the law creating eight state songs, in New Hampshire’s Revised Statutes Annotated.
In 1983 the Legislature amended RSA 3:7 and added an additional honorary state song "New Hampshire Naturally" with words and music by Rick and Ron Shaw.
Adapted from: Manual for the General Court 1981. History. Leon W. Anderson.
The New Hampshire Almanac is compiled by the New Hampshire State Library from state statutes and other sources as noted.
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