NH‘s State Song(s)

Feb 17, 2017

Why settle for just one state tune when you can have ten? For a small state, New Hampshire has inspired a plethora of musical tributes, nine of which legislators over the years have opted to grant official recognition.

The first song to receive official state recognition in New Hampshire is “Old New Hampshire", adopted  by the Legislature in 1949. The song was originally a poem by Dr. John F. Holmes, set to music by Franklin Street Congregational Church organist Maurice Hoffman, Jr., in 1926.

Additional ‘state songs’ began receiving legislative approval in 1963, and by 1977 it was determined that the Legislature needed to select one of these sanctioned tunes as the state’s “official” song.

The Legislature established an official State Song Selection Board, appointed by the governor and Executive Council. The board considered a total of 21 songs, including those already recognized by state law, and on November 29, 1977, declared “Old New Hampshire” the winner. The remaining songs already approved by the Legislature were granted status as honorary state songs.

The most recent addition to the state’s roster of sanctioned tunes is “Live Free or Die”, written by Australian musician Barry Palmer about Gen. John Stark’s coining of the phrase in a letter to veterans of the Battle of Bennington.

New Hampshire’s state songs:

  • "Old New Hampshire" by Dr. John F. Holmes and music by Maurice Hoffmann – added 1949
  • "New Hampshire, My New Hampshire" by Julius Richelson and Walter P. Smith – added 1963
  • "New Hampshire Hills" by Paul Scott Maurer and Tom Powers – added 1973
  • "Autumn in New Hampshire" by Leo Austin – added 1977
  • "New Hampshire's Granite State" by Anne B. Currier – added 1977
  • "Oh, New Hampshire (you're my home)" by Brownie McIntosh – added 1977 
  • "The Old Man of the Mountain" by Paul Belanger – added 1977 
  • "The New Hampshire State March" by Rene Richards – added 1977
  • "New Hampshire Naturally" by Rick Shaw and Ron Shaw – added 1983
  • "Live Free or Die" by Barry Palmer – added 2007

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