Citation of Recognition
On May 23. 2010, Barbara Owen performed on our
1870 George Stevens organ and presented a Historic
Citation from the Organ Historical Society to recognize
the significance of that organ.
Barbara is a legend in the organ world with several
books to her credit as well as many articles. She is an
organist, historian, lecturer, past president of the
Organ Historical Society, and librarian of the American
Guild of Organists Organ Library at Boston University.
The citation is awarded by the Historic Organs Citations
Committee of the Organ Historical Society to publicly
honor pipe organs that possess special historic qualities.
As of February 2010, this distinction has been given to 390 organs in the United States and Canada, 46 of them in Massachusetts. Our organ is one of only three organs built by a George Stevens company to receive this honor.
The Harvard Historical Society 1870 George Stevens & Co. organ holds the distinction of being the largest remaining single manual organ produced by George Stevens. In addition, the organ remains intact and unaltered from its original installation.
George Stevens & Company
George Stevens (1803 – 1894) was a master
craftsman and an important figure in American
organ building. He also served as the third mayor
of Cambridge, MA.
Stevens began his career as an apprentice for
William Goodrich, a manufacturer of pipe organs
in Cambridgeport. Goodrich is considered the
father of the Boston school of organ building.
After Goodrich died in 1833, Stevens bought the
firm with fellow employee M.R. Gayetty and
operated as Stevens & Gayetty until 1839, when
he formed his own company, George Stevens & Co.
Following George’s retirement in 1892, two of his
employees continued its operation as Gilbert &
Butler until it was dissolved in 1902.
Stevens built over 800 pipe organs throughout
The specifics of our organ were provided in a letter to the Harvard Historical Society by Barbara Owen, Consultant on Matters Pertaining to the Organ, 28 Jefferson St. Newburyport, MA 01950-1939
MANUAL (56 notes)
Open Diapason [8’, wood bass]
Stopped Diapason Bass [8’, 19 pipes]
Melodia [8’, from Tenor C]
Keraulophon [8’, from Tenor G]
Dulciana [8’, from Tenor G]
Flute [4’, from Tenor C]
Twelfth [2 2/3’]
Sesquialtera [3rks, from Tenor F]
Hautboy [8’, from Tenor F]
PEDAL (25 notes)
Bourdon [16’, 20 wood pipes]
Manual to Pedal coupler
The casework is of pine, with faux oak grained finish, in moderately good condition. The keydesk is semi-projecting, with vertical stop-jambs. All manual pipe work is enclosed in and expression box with vertical shutters operated by a hitch-down pedal, and the front pipes are wooden dummies. The Pedal pipes are arranged diatonically at the back of the organ. The organ is presently blown by an old Spencer fan blower in the cellar, but the original feeders and bellows handle are still intact. The wind-pressure appears to have been raised at some time by the addition of large and uncharacteristic rocks on the bellows, and some of the pipes seem on the verge of over blowing. The pipe work is all intact, but in somewhat damaged condition, the tops of the open metal pipes having been coned out and torn, apparently to sharpen the pitch. These few interventions can all be reversed during a restoration, as this organ is otherwise entirely intact and original.