MacMillan, Alexander

Alexander MacMillan. Presbyterian minister, hymnologist, b Edinburgh 19 Oct 1864, d Toronto 5 Mar 1961; honorary DD (Presbyterian College, Montreal) 1919, honorary D MUS (Toronto) 1943. After his graduation in 1887 from the University of Edinburgh and his ordination in the same year by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, he moved to Canada, serving Ontario Presbyterian and United churches in Huron County, Toronto, and nearby Mimico. In 1893 he was appointed a member of the committee which produced The Presbyterian Book of Praise (Oxford, London 1904). With W.S. Milner he edited The University Hymn Book (Toronto 1912). He became full-time secretary of the Committee on Church Praise in 1914, lecturing on hymnology and church music in theological colleges and editing The Book of Praise (Toronto 1918). He was co-editor of The Ukrainian Book of Praise (Toronto 1922). On the union in 1925 of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational churches, he became secretary of the Committee on Church Worship and Ritual of the United Church of Canada. He edited The Hymnary of the United Church of Canada (Toronto 1931) and wrote Stories of Our Hymns (Toronto 1930) and the survey history Hymns of the Church (Toronto 1935, 1965). His influence extended to the USA and Great Britain through articles written on hymnody for various periodicals. In The Presbyterian RecordCharles Peaker called Alexander MacMillan "our greatest hymnologist" (January 1973).

Alexander and his wife, Wilhelmina Katherine MacMillan (b Ross), had four children: Ernest and three daughters. Dorothy MacMillan Hill (b 1897 or 1898, d 1953) was a teacher at the TCM (RCMT); Jean Ross MacMillan (b 1901, d 5 May 1990) was a reference librarian with Toronto Public Library; and Winifred (b 1903, d 1952) married Ettore Mazzoleni and performed in a two-piano ensemble with Kathleen Irwin (see Piano teams).

See also Keith Macmillan (his grandson); Hymns and Hymn Tunes.