HOWE, JULIA WARD. Born in New York City, May 27, 1819; died in Boston, 1910. With the exception of her one great poem, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," Julia Ward Howe will be remembered rather as a constructive reformer than as a poet. From the time of her marriage, in 1843, to Dr. Samuel G. Howe, of Boston, she was actively identified with all the great public movements of her time. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written in 1861 when Mrs. Howe, in company with the Secretary of War, visited the military camps near Washington. When the review was over, the soldiers thronged about the camp singing "John Brown's Body." Mrs. Howe, as she afterward related, was greatly stirred by the incident, but impressed by the inadequacy of the words to so fine a martial air. That night she awakened with the first stanza of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" complete in her mind and before morning the entire poem had taken shape.

This biographical note is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.



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