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Julia Ward Howe

Updated on December 1, 2016

Julia Ward Howe, American writer, lecturer, and social reformer. Born New York, N.Y., May 27, 1819. Julia Ward Howe is best known for writing the words for The Battle Hymn of the Republic, the rallying song for Union Army troops during the Civil War. Mrs. Howe wrote the stirring words in December 1861, while on a trip to Washington, D.C. They were published in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in February 1862 and soon replaced John Brown's Body as the marching anthem of the army of the Republic. The daughter of a New York banker, Julia Ward was married in 1843 to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe  (1801-1876), a Boston physician and humanitarian. They edited an antislavery newspaper, called the Commonwealth. After the war she lectured and worked for woman's suffrage, prison reform, international peace, and other humanitarian causes. Mrs. Howe wrote poems and several books, including Memoir of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe (1876), Margaret Fuller (1883), and Reminiscences (1899). She was the first woman to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Julia Ward Howe died in Middletown, R.I., on October 17, 1910.


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