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