THIS volume is the first of two to be published by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts to record the proceedings of a conference on colonial music sponsored by the Society and held in May 1973. Although these volumes will be published separately, they will be numbered consecutively in the series of the Society’s publications. This volume—Number 53—will concentrate on music in public places during the colonial period in Massachusetts. The second volume will be devoted to music in the homes and in the churches of the Bay Colony during the same period. Taken together, these two volumes will make a significant contribution to an understanding of the whole field of colonial music and will demonstrate that music played a much larger part in the lives of the inhabitants of colonial Massachusetts than had been previously supposed.

    As was the case with the Colonial Society’s preceding publication, Seafaring in Colonial Massachusetts, the influence of the late Walter Muir Whitehill, for over thirty years the Society’s Editor of Publications, permeates the two volumes. The idea of holding conferences on colonial subjects was Walter’s, and though at first he was dubious about whether or not colonial music was a legitimate theme for a conference, he soon became converted. From then on his concern for the conference and for these volumes was deep. In a very real sense they are his publications. Also I cannot help thinking how much the Society’s former President, the late Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, would have enjoyed seeing these volumes in print. A life-long defender of the Puritans against the charge that they were joyless, dour, and bigoted, he would have welcomed this additional support for his thesis.

    To serve as editor of these volumes, the Society was fortunate in obtaining the services of Barbara Lambert, Keeper of Musical Instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Not only did she assume most of the responsibility for the conference itself; she has been indefatigable in working to prepare these volumes for publication, in many instances going well beyond the normal duties of an editor in searching out and checking material for the various contributors. Our fellow member Sinclair Hamilton Hitchings, acting on many occasions as Walter Whitehall’s deputy, made important contributions to these volumes. Our Corresponding Secretary, Richard J. Wolfe, did yeoman’s service during the last stages of preparing this first volume for publication. Finally, Roderick D. Stinehour and his associate Glenn Hogan of The Stinehour Press and E. Harold Hugo of The Meriden Gravure Company have combined their talents to make this volume a masterpiece of book-making art.

    All those who have participated in what has proved to be a long and laborious process have high hopes that the results of their work would have pleased Walter Whitehill as a publication worthy of the fine tradition that he established for our Society.

    Frederick S. Allis, Jr.

    Editor of Publications

    87 Mount Vernon Street

    Boston, Massachusetts

    October 1980