Katherine Kennicott Davis (b. St. Joseph, MA, 1892; d. Concord, MA, 1980) composed MASSACHUSETTS in 1962 for The Methodist Hymnal (1964), in which it was set to Charles Kingsley's "From Thee All Skill and Science Flow." Davis named the tune after her home state. MASSACHUSSETTS exhibits the classic structure of a rounded bar form (AABA). The second half of stanzas 2 and 3 and all of stanza 4 bear an energetic and even jubilant performance; sing the entire psalm with two beats per measure.
Davis studied at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she was also a teaching assistant in music. From 1921 to 1929 she taught singing and piano in private schools in Concord, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 1929 she devoted herself largely to music composition. She wrote some eight hundred pieces, most of which were choral (often writing under several pseudonyms). One of her most popular songs is "The Little Drummer Boy," originally called "Carol of the Drum" (1941). Her other publications include the folk operetta Cinderella (1933) and Songs of Freedom (1948).
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988