Samuel A. Ward

Samuel Augustus Ward ( born December 28, 1847 in Newark, New Jersey; † September 28, 1903 ) was an American organist and composer.


Ward studied music in New York City. From 1880, he held the post of organist at the Episcopal Church in Newark. As a composer he is best known for his 1882 penned tune to the song America the Beautiful. He had composed the melody under the name " Materna " on the ferry from Coney Iceland to Newark. The text comes from a poem by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893. The song is now beside God Bless America as an unofficial national anthem. Ward died in 1903 in his home and not live to see the publication of the song itself. He is buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.


Ward was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.