Carlos Van Leer, a lifelong Washingtonian best known as the troubadour for various civic causes, provided an answer as to the author of the Washington school song, partial lyrics of which were printed yesterday in this column. He says the author was William T. Pierson, who played the song on the piano in the Van Leers' parlor in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in the 1920s.
But others, including former schoolteacher Margaret (Davis) Moore of Hyattsville, attribute the song to Edwin N.C. Barnes, the D.C. school system's music director in that era. Dr. Myer Stolar, a Washington physician, said he remembers Barnes' personal claim of authorship when he visited Stolar's class at McKinley Tech High School and led students in singing it.
Eva (Laskin) Binstock of Potomac, then a pupil at Amidon School, recalled singing the song on the Capitol grounds as part of the George Washington Bicentennial celebration in 1932. John Philip Sousa conducted the band as the schoolchildren sang, she said.
John Alvey of Dumfries, Va., a retired businessman who attended Seaton School, said the version provided by a reader that we printed yesterday omitted the first verse, which ran:Between the river and the bay There stands a city fair: The hills of old Virginia guard her with jealous care. The shaft which bears her founder's name Looks down with lofty pride. And Lincoln's tomb, its splendor cast, By old Potomac's side.
I hate to be a naysayer, but the author was historically off base. The Lincoln Memorial is no tomb. Old Abe is buried in Springfield, Ill.