E. M. Bartlett was born December 24, 1883 in Waynesville, Missouri. His family later moved to Sebastian County, Arkansas. Bartlett received training as a music teacher and was a leader in developing Southern gospel music. He was employed by Central Music Company, a publisher of shape not singing books based in Hartford, which was owned by David Moore and Will H. Ramsey. Bartlett persuaded Moore and John A. McClung to partner with him to form Hartford Music Company. In 1921, Bartlett established the Hartford Music Institute, a shape note school. He provided opportunities for many songwriters and musicians in gospel music, including Albert E. Brumley. In 1939 he suffered a stroke and afterwards wrote "Victory in Jesus."
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