Nativity. Watercolor design for stained glass window by J. & R. Lamb Studios. Lamb Design Collection. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction number: Digital ID lambdc 08584
Amy Beach's "Christmas Hymn," Bethlehem, op. 24, was heard on December 24, 1893, at Boston's First Church Unitarian. Arthur Foote was the organist. He was also one of the composers included in a group called the Boston Six whose other members were Amy Beach, George Chadwick, Edward MacDowell, John Knowles Paine, and Horatio Parker.
The piece sets a text by George C. Hugg, a compiler of late-nineteenth-century hymnals. Beach's hymn enjoyed great popularity, receiving performances at the First Baptist Church, Boston, in 1893 and, a few years later, in Detroit and Minneapolis. Arthur P. Schmidt published and disseminated Beach's works, serving as an early champion of women composers. Beach also was an energetic promoter of her own music.