JULIA WARD HOWE Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Julia Ward Howe, who is best known for her literary and woman suffrage work, was         
born on May 27, 1819 into a prominent New York City family that had a                   
distinguished lineage on both sides. While she was raised in a conservative,             
Christian home, as a young woman she rebelled against her father's strong               
Calvinist beliefs. Even though she became a liberal thinker, she always stood           
firm in her religious convictions.                                                       
Since Julia's mother died when she was only five years old, she was raised by           
her father with the help of various family members. Her father saw to it that           
she received the best education available. She attended various private girls’         
schools and was also tutored at home. She grew into a gracious and intelligent           
young woman with a strong literary bent. Due to her remarkable abilities, she           
was readily accepted into the society of such notables as Margaret Fuller,               
Horace Mann, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.                                                   
In 1843, Julia married the Boston Reformer, Dr. Samuel G. Howe, nearly 20 years         
her senior. While it was a stormy marriage, at best, they had four children.             
Julia proved to be a remarkable mother and all of her children went on to become         
eminently successful in the fields of science and literature.                           
Though Dr. Howe did not approve of married women in public life, Julia did,             
however, pursue her writing career, even against her husband’s wishes. In 1954,       
despite her husband’s disapproval, Julia anonymously published her first volume       
of poems, “Passions Flowers”. It was met with success and she continued writing     
and publishing volumes of poetry, several plays, and many magazine articles on           
various themes. This caused friction between husband and wife as Dr. Howe               
emphatically objected to Julia’s speaking in public and pursuing her literary         
In the fall of 1861, after the Civil War began, Mrs. Howe accompanied her               
husband to Washington, D.C., where he was involved in medical service for the           
government. During the visit, Julia became deeply disturbed as she noted the             
growing angry mood of the Nation. Daily, Mrs. Howe watched troops marching off           
to war singing “John Brown’s Body”, a song about an unconventional man who had     
been hanged in his efforts to free the slaves. One day, a friend suggested that         
she write some “decent words for that tune”. Julia agreed. That evening, while       
in bed, the words came to Julia. She rose in the middle of the night and                 
scrawled the verses of the poem that was to become famous as “The Battle Hymn of       
the Republic”. The poem was published in the Atlantic Monthly and Mrs. Howe           
received a mere $5 for this literary work. But soon the song was being sung by           
regiments all over the north and it wasn’t long before the entire nation was           
united in singing, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord...”     
This became one of our finest national hymns, finding its way into almost every         
American hymnal.                                                                         
By the time she reached her eighties, Julia had become a national figure,               
beloved by the American people. In 1908, two years before she died at the age of         
ninety-one, Julia Ward Howe was the first woman to be elected to the prestigious         
American Academy of Arts and Letters.