Marion Dix Sullivan

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  • Birth year: 1802[1]
  • Death year: 1860[2]
  • fl. 1840–1850

Other Spellings Seen

(Dix was probably her maiden name with 'M.' being her middle initial.)

  • Marian Dix Sullivan
  • Marion (Dix) Sullivan
  • M. Dix Sullivan
  • Marian M. Sullivan
  • Marian M. Dix



Musical Reviews:—
"The 'Juniata Ballads,' by Marion Dix Sullivan—
"This work is a collection of original Ballads, intended for the use of Schools, and particularly adapted to the wants of little singers. They will be found very interesting and pretty. We give the Author's Preface:—'To my friends of the forest and the mountain, the river, the lake, and the sea-shore—of the poor—of the laboring—and to every child, the 'Juniata Ballads' are affectionately and respectfully dedicated. They are to be sung to the oar, the loom, and the plow—through the forest, over the prairie, and in the small log-cabin by the light of a pine-knot. They are written as they came to the mind of the composer, often unsought and undesired: the melody and the words together. The latter may not be poetical, but they at least harmonize with the former. Most of them commemorate in the mind of the writer some event, or place, or circumstance. 'The Blue Juniata.' [not inserted in this book, as it is not now my property,] was a wave of memory, bearing to my mind the beautiful river, with its voices, its color, and its wild surroundings. 'The Field of Monterey. [not now in my possession.] commemorates the death of a brave young officer who fell in the streets of that city. 'Lightly on' was written as I riding along in the forest-land of Gen. J. J. Jackson, of Virginia, and its movement is the precise musical step of my brave and beautiful horse, Selim. The song is not now in my possession. Every one which the book contains is now published for the first time. The 'Surf-Song' was composed on the Pavillion Rocks in Gloucester, amid the abouts of the bathers and the coming-in of the flood tide. The 'Evening Hymn to the Savior' was first written upon a broken shell with a pencil, in a small boat, coming across the harbor of Plymouth, near sunset. If I knew which were the heavy and uninteresting songs in this collection, I would leave them all out; but as I do not, I will trust those to whom it is frankly offered, to do that favor for me, and to their kindness it is cheerfully confided.


"Marion Dix Sullivan (fl. 1840–1850) was the first American woman to write what today would be called a hit song, her ballad "The Blue Juniata" (1844). Often reprinted, the song was mentioned by Mark Twain in his Autobiography, and it inspired variation sets by at least two other…"[4]


…a native of New Hampshire. She was a sister of the distinguished soldier and statesman General John A. Dix, of New York, and of that noble philanthropist Dorothy L. Dix. Mrs. Sullivan died in 1860.[5]

List of Works

List of Hymns

Songs Later Modified into Hymns


  2. History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: With Plan of Organization, Portraits of Officials and Biographical Sketches, Vol. I, 1895 p. 79
  3. Dwight's Journal of Music, A Paper of Art and Literature, Vol. IX, 1857, p. 7
  4. Women & Music: A History, 2001, p. 210
  5. History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: With Plan of Organization, Portraits of Officials and Biographical Sketches, Vol. I, 1895 p. 79