The Robert Guy McCutchan Collection of Hymnology was a gift in 1957 of McCutchan (1851–1920) and his wife Helen C. McCutchan. For many years Dean of the School of Music at DePauw University, McCutchan was editor of the 1935 edition of the Methodist hymnal. The collection is particularly rich in Methodist hymnals and psalters including early editions by John Wesley, but it also contains hymns that have been sung in America by all denominations.
The collection dates from the early 17th century to the present, the majority are American publications. The range is broader than hymnology: song books of temperance societies, Grange and fraternal organizations, and political parties; Civil War songs; and children’s song books are to be found among the titles.
In 1954, S. E. Boyd Smith compiled an annotated Catalog of American Tune Books Printed before 1851 in this collection, in which the more than two hundred volumes printed in America between 1757 and 1851 are described. A supplement lists twenty English, French, and German tune books printed from 1612 to 1850 and Sunday School song books of the same period. Dr. McCutchan’s papers in the collection include the editor’s dummy of the 1935 Methodist hymnal. Reference books and the microfilm edition of Dictionary of American Hymnnology: First-Line Index are useful to the research of hymnologists. A file from 1949 to present of The Hymn, the publication of the Hymn Society of America, rounds out the collection.