Benjamin Carl Unseld (1843-1923) was born in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He left school at age 14 and pursued various commercial jobs. He started to learn music at age 15 from a friend who had attended a singing school. They went to church and practiced together after work. He witnessed part of the Battle at Antietam in 1862 and soon after moved to Columbia, Pennsylvania, and worked as a railroad clerk. He continued to study music, rented a melodeon, and sang in a choir. He accepted a position as organist at the Methodist Church in Columbia. He studied at the Musical Institute at Providence, Rhode Island, under Eben Tourjée and became the Institute’s secretary. He followed Tourjée to Boston when Tourjée helped found the New England Conservatory of Music and was the school’s first secretary. He also had additional studies with Theo. F. Seward. He later taught at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, assisting in training the famous Jubilee Singers, and was the first principal of the Virginia Normal School of Music. He was then organist and choirmaster at St, James’ Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then lived in New York City for fifteen years where he taught, composed, directed choirs, held summer normal schools, edited music and published with the firm Biglow & Main. He later went to Cincinnati, Ohio, as editor with the Fillmore Music House and then to Dayton in a similar capacity with the Lorenz Publishing Company. He then returned to NCY and then moved to Hagerstown, Maryland. In 1911, he moved to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, as dean of the new James D. Vaughan School of Music. He died in Lawrenceburg. With Seward, he imported John Curwen's Tonic Sol-fa system from England and promoted it, but he method was never widely received in the United States. He wrote many Gospel songs, hymns and secular songs and published a number of volumes for pedagogical use including “The Tonic Sol-Fa Music Reader.”
All are mixed chorus unless noted; some contain divisi.