Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe
May 27, 1819
New York City, United States
|Died||October 17, 1910 (aged 91)|
Portsmouth, Rhode Island, United States
(m. 1843; died 1876)
|Parents||Samuel Ward III|
Julia Rush Cutler
|Relatives||Samuel Cutler Ward (brother)|
Julia Ward Howe (//; May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910) was an American poet and author, known for writing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the original 1870 pacifist Mother's Day Proclamation. She was also an advocate for abolitionism and a social activist, particularly for women's suffrage.
Early life and education
Howe was born in New York City. She was the fourth of seven children. Her father Samuel Ward III was a Wall Street stockbroker, banker, and strict Calvinist. Her mother was the poet Julia Rush Cutler, related to Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution. She died during childbirth when Howe was five.
Howe was educated by private tutors and schools for young ladies until she was sixteen. Her eldest brother, Samuel Cutler Ward, traveled in Europe and brought home a private library. She had access to these books, many contradicting the Calvinistic view. She became well-read, though social as well as scholarly. She met, because of her father's status as a successful banker, Charles Dickens, Charles Sumner, and Margaret Fuller.
Her brother, Sam, married into the Astor family, allowing him great social freedom that he shared with his sister. The siblings were cast into mourning with the death of their father in 1839, the death of their brother, Henry, and the deaths of Samuel's wife, Emily, and their newborn child.
Though raised an Episcopalian, Julia became a Unitarian by 1841. In Boston, Ward met Samuel Gridley Howe, a physician and reformer who had founded the Perkins School for the Blind. Howe had courted her, but he had shown an interest in her sister Louisa. In 1843, they married despite their eighteen-year age difference. She gave birth to their first child while honeymooning in Europe. She bore their last child in December 1859 at the age of forty. They had six children: Julia Romana Howe (1844–1886), Florence Marion Howe (1845–1922), Henry Marion Howe (1848–1922), Laura Elizabeth Howe (1850–1943), Maud Howe (1855–1948), and Samuel Gridley Howe, Jr. (1859–1863). Howe was an aunt of novelist Francis Marion Crawford.
Howe raised her children in South Boston, while her husband pursued his advocacy work. She hid her unhappiness with their marriage, earning the nickname "the family champagne" from her children. She made frequent visits to Gardiner, Maine, where she stayed at "The Yellow House," a home built originally in 1814 and later home to her daughter Laura.
In 1852, the Howes bought a "country home" with 4.7 acres of land in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, which they called "Oak Glen." They continued to maintain homes in Boston and Newport, but spent several months each year at Oak Glen.
She attended lectures, studied foreign languages, and wrote plays and dramas. Howe had published essays on Goethe, Schiller and Lamartine before her marriage in the New York Review and Theological Review. Passion-Flowers was published anonymously in 1853. The book collected personal poems and was written without the knowledge of her husband, who was then editing the Free Soil newspaper The Commonwealth. Her second anonymous collection, Words for the Hour, appeared in 1857. She went on to write plays such as Leonora, The World's Own, and Hippolytus. These works all contained allusions to her stultifying marriage.
She went on trips including several for missions. In 1860, she published A Trip to Cuba, which told of her 1859 trip. It had generated outrage from William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist, for its derogatory view of Blacks. Howe believed it was right to free the slaves but did not believe in racial equality. Several letters on High Newport society were published in the New York Tribune in 1860, as well.
Howe's being a published author troubled her husband greatly, especially due to the fact that her poems many times had to do with critiques of women's roles as wives, her own marriage, and women's place in society. Their marriage problems escalated to the point where they separated in 1852. Samuel, when he became her husband, had also taken complete control of her estate income. Upon her husband's death in 1876, she had found that through a series of bad investments, most of her money had been lost.
Howe's writing and social activism were greatly shaped by her upbringing and married life. Much study has gone into her difficult marriage and how it influenced her work, both written and active.
She was inspired to write "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" after she and her husband visited Washington, D.C., and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in November 1861. During the trip, her friend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words to the song "John Brown's Body", which she did on November 19. The song was set to William Steffe's already existing music and Howe's version was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War.
Now that Howe was in the public eye, she produced eleven issues of the literary magazine, Northern Lights, in 1867. That same year she wrote about her travels to Europe in From the Oak to the Olive. After the war, she focused her activities on the causes of pacifism and women's suffrage. By 1868, Julia's husband no longer opposed her involvement in public life, so Julia decided to become active in reform. She helped found the New England Women's Club and the New England Woman Suffrage Association. She served as president for nine years beginning in 1868. In 1869, she became co-leader with Lucy Stone of the American Woman Suffrage Association. Then, in 1870, she became president of the New England Women's Club. After her husband's death in 1876, she focused more on her interests in reform. In 1877 Howe was one of the founders of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union in Boston. She was the founder and from 1876 to 1897 president of the Association of American Women, which advocated for women's education.
In 1872, she became the editor of Woman's Journal, a widely-read suffragist magazine founded in 1870 by Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell. She contributed to it for twenty years. That same year, she wrote her "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world", later known as the Mother's Day Proclamation, which asked women around the world to join for world peace. (See Category:Pacifist feminism.) She authored it soon after she evolved into a pacifist and an anti-war activist. In 1872, she asked that "Mother's Day" be celebrated on the 2nd of June. Her efforts were not successful, and by 1893 she was wondering if the 4th of July could be remade into "Mother's Day". In 1874, she edited a coeducational defense titled Sex and Education. She wrote a collection about the places she lived in 1880 called Modern Society. In 1883, Howe published a biography of Margaret Fuller. Then, in 1885 she published another collection of lectures called Is Polite Society Polite? ("Polite society" is a euphemism for the upper class.) In 1899 she published her popular memoirs, Reminiscences. She continued to write until her death.
In 1881, Howe was elected president of the Association for the Advancement of Women. Around the same time, Howe went on a speaking tour of the Pacific coast and founded the Century Club of San Francisco. In 1890, she helped found the General Federation of Women's Clubs, to reaffirm the Christian values of frugality and moderation. From 1891 to 1893, she served as president for the second time of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. Until her death, she was president of the New England Woman Suffrage Association. From 1893 to 1898 she directed the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and headed the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs. Howe spoke at the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago reflecting on the question, What is Religion?. In 1908 Julia was the first woman to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a society; its goal is to "foster, assist, and sustain excellence" in American literature, music, and art.
Death and legacy
Howe died of pneumonia October 17, 1910, at her Portsmouth home, Oak Glen at the age of 91. She is buried in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At her memorial service approximately 4,000 people sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as a sign of respect as it was the custom to sing that song at each of Julia's speaking engagements.
Several buildings are associated with her name:
- The Julia Ward Howe School of Excellence in Chicago's Austin community is named in her honor.
- The Howe neighborhood in Minneapolis, MN was named for her.
- The Julia Ward Howe Academics Plus Elementary School in Philadelphia was named in her honor in 1913.
- Her Rhode Island home, Oak Glen, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
- Her Boston home is a stop on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
Awards and honors
- January 28, 1908, at age 88, Howe became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- 1970, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- In 1998, inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
- Passion-Flowers (1854)
- Words for the Hour (1857)
- From Sunset Ridge: Poems Old and New (1898)
- Later Lyrics (1866)
- At Sunset (published posthumously, 1910)
- The Hermaphrodite. Incomplete, but probably composed between 1846 and 1847. Published by University of Nebraska Press, 2004
- From the Oak to the Olive (travel writing, 1868)
- Modern Society (essays, 1881)
- Margaret Fuller (Marchesa Ossoli) (biography, 1883)
- Woman's work in America (1891)
- Is Polite Society Polite? (essays, 1895)
- Reminiscences: 1819–1899 (autobiography, 1899)
- List of peace activists
- List of suffragists and suffragettes
- List of women's rights activists
- Timeline of women's suffrage
- Ann Jarvis
- Gardiner, Maine, Howe's home for many years
- Samuel Gridley and Julia Ward Howe House
- "Julia Ward Howe". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
- Sandra F. VanBurkleo, Mary Jo Miles (2000). "Howe, Julia Ward". American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved November 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- "Howe, Julia Ward (1819–1910)", Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2000. Credo Reference. Web. 07 November 2013.
- "Julia Ward Howe Biography". Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Richards, Laura (1915). Celebration of Women Writers. Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Joann, Goodman. "Julia Ward Howe". Archived from the original on December 31, 2013.
- Biography Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography
- "Julia Ward Howe". National Women's History Museum.
- Williams, Gary. Hungry Heart: The Literary Emergence of Julia Ward Howe. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999: 33. ISBN 1-55849-157-0
- Martyris, Nina (March 16, 2016). "Battle Hymn at the Dining Table: A Famous Feminist Subjugated Through Food". NPR. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
- "Gardiner Public Library, Gardiner, Maine".
- "Julia Ward Howe, Author of Battle Hymn, Spent Much of Her Life in Portsmouth". Zilian Commentary. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
- Williams, Gary. Hungry Heart: The Literary Emergence of Julia Ward Howe. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999: 134–135. ISBN 1-55849-157-0
- "JULIA WARD HOWE (1819–1910)." Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007. Credo Reference. Web. 14 November 2013.
- "Julia Ward Howe – National Women's Hall of Fame". National Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Open Collections Program: Women Working, Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910)". Women Working, 1800 – 1930. Harvard University Library. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Lepore, Jill (February 29, 2016). "'The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe,' by Elaine Showalter". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
- Williams, Gary. Hungry Heart: The Literary Emergence of Julia Ward Howe. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999: 208. ISBN 1-55849-157-0
- VanBurleo, Miles
- Sander, Kathleen Waters (1998). The business of charity: the woman's exchange movement, 1832–1900. University of Illinois Press. p. 66. ISBN 0252067037.
- Ziegler, Valarie H. Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2003: 148–149. ISBN 1-56338-418-3
- Ryan, Agnes E. The Torch Bearer A Look Forward and Back at the Woman's Journal, the Organ of the Woman's Movement.
- Howe, Julia Ward (September 1870). Appeal to womanhood throughout the world.
- Leigh, Eric Schmidt (1997). Princeton University Press (ed.). Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays (reprint, illustrated ed.). pp. 252, 348 (footnote 17 of chapter 5). ISBN 0-691-01721-2. citing Deborah Pickman Clifford, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Biography of Julia Ward Howe (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), 187, 207, and Julia Ward Howe, "How the Fourth of July Should Be Celebrated", Forum 15 (July 1983); 574
- The History of Mother's Day from The Legacy Project, a Legacy Center (Canada) website
- Virginia Bernhard (2002). "Mother's Day". In Joseph M. Hawes, Elizabeth F. Shores (ed.). The family in America: an encyclopedia (3, illustrated ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 714. ISBN 1-57607-232-0.
- The First Anniversary of "Mother's Day", The New York Times, June 3, 1874, p. 8: "'Mother's Day', which was inaugurated in this city on the 2nd of June, 1872, by Mrs. Julia Ward Howards [sic], was celebrated last night at Plimpton Hall by a mother's peace meeting..."
- Barrows, John Henry, The World’s Parliament of Religions: An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World’s First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893, Volume 2. Chicago: The Parliament Publishing Company, 1893, 1250-1251.
- "Julia Ward Howe Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters". America's Story. Library of Congress. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 71. ISBN 0-19-503186-5
- Corbett, William. Literary New England: A History and Guide. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1993: 106. ISBN 0-571-19816-3
- Howe, Julia Ward (1819–1910)." Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2000. Credo Reference. Web. 7 November 2013.
- Richards, Laura Elizabeth Howe; Elliott, Maud Howe; Hall, Florence Howe (January 1, 1915). "Julia Ward Howe, 1819–1910". Houghton Mifflin – via Google Books.
- Ziegler, Valarie H. Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2003: 11. ISBN 1-56338-418-3
- "Julia Ward Howe Stamp". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. January 23, 1987. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- "About". Howe School of Excellence. Academy for Urban School Leadership. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- "Howe". City of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Moak, J.M. (May 1987). "Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form: Julia Ward Howe School" (PDF). Retrieved June 16, 2012.
- "NRHP nomination for Oak Glen" (PDF). Rhode Island Preservation. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- "Back Bay East". Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
- "Julia Ward Howe". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- National Women's Hall of Fame, Julia Ward Howe
- Julia Ward Howe (1868). From the oak to the olive: a plain record of a pleasant journey. Lee & Shepard.
- Howe, Julia Ward (January 1, 1900). Reminiscences: 1819–1899. Houghton Mifflin Company – via Internet Archive.
- Clifford, Deborah Pickman. Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Biography of Julia Ward Howe. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1978. OCLC 812767088.
- Sketches of Representative Women of New England. Boston: New England Historical Pub. Co., 1904. OCLC 46723804.
- Richards, Laura Elizabeth. Julia Ward Howe, 1819–1910. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916. Two vol. OCLC 137282181.
- Showalter, Elaine. The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017. OCLC 1001959955.
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Julia Ward Howe
Works and papers
- Works by Julia Ward Howe at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Julia Ward Howe at Internet Archive
- Works by Julia Ward Howe at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Howe Papers at Harvard University
- Articles by Howe Archive at "Making of America" project, Cornell University Library
- Poetry at Representative Poetry Online (University of Toronto)
- Mother's Day Proclamation (1870)
- Julia Ward Howe.org Electronic archive of Howe's life and works
- Finding Aid for the Julia Ward Howe Papers at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- Free scores by Julia Ward Howe in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Papers,1857–1961. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
- Papers of the Julia Ward Howe family, 1787–1984. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
- Julia Ward Howe, biography by Laura E. Richards, online at the University of Pennsylvania
- Michals, Debra. "Julia Ward Howe". National Women's History Museum." 2015.
- Biography Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography
- Julia Ward Howe at Answers.com
- Schowalter, Elaine. "The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe" New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017
- Plaque on the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. marking where Howe wrote the Hymn