Hymn #124: Away in a Manger

Although this hymn has been attributed to Martin Luther, the great German reformer, modern hymnodists now know that he was not the author.  Actually, this hymn originated in the United States and was first published in Philadelphia in 1885.

 

"A Lutheran author in Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century" is about as close as scholars have come to identifying the writer of these words.  Scattered facts have traced the song's use to Pennsylvania's Lutheran churches.  Many historians have labored to discover more, but without success.

This tune for "Away in a Manger" was written by an anonymous United States composer, although others have been given credit for it.  The familiar title is AWAY IN A MANGER for the opening words, but is has also been call MULLER.

 

This tune is only one of more than forty tunes that have been used with this familiar cradle song.  Some believe that James R. Murray may have been the composer, as the initials J.R. M. are found with this tune in an 1887 songbook for children.