Julia Ward Howe

social reformer, writer
Born: 5/27/1819
Birthplace: New York, N.Y.

Julia Ward was born into a prosperous family and was educated privately. She married Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe in 1843 and moved to Boston. She became increasingly active in social causes, including abolition and woman's suffrage. Howe and her husband published an abolitionist newspaper, the Boston Commonwealth. She published a volume of poetry, Passion Flowers, in 1854, followed by two other volumes of poetry and two plays. After watching Union troops head into battle, Howe wrote the poem that made her famous, The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The Atlantic Monthly published it, suggesting it be set to the music of the folk song, John Brown's Body. After the Civil War Howe continued to write, founding the literary journal, Northern Lights, and later editing the Woman's Journal. She was the first president of the New England Woman Suffrage Association, and 1868, she helped establish the New England Women's Club. In 1871 she became American president of the Woman's International Peace Association. An active lecturer, and prodigious writer, she continued to write travel books, essays, poetry, and biographies into her old age. In 1907, Howe was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Died: 1910

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