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Ira Sankey first published his Sacred Songs and Solos in England and some say it sold as many as 50 million copies. When he returned to the states, he noticed that P. P. Bliss and Whittle had been successfully selling their own collection, Gospel Songs. The three combined efforts and published Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs in 1875. This volume was wildly popular, selling over a million copies in New York and Philadelphia rallies alone. A second edition was released the following year, whose sales were boosted by P. P. Bliss’ untimely death. McGranahan assumed Bliss’ role, and in the next fifteen years four more editions were released, including 1894’s “Diamond Edition,” and 1895’s “Excelsior Edition.” This is a picture of the “Excelsior Edition,” which you can see printed on the very top of the book.

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