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January 28Trivia powered by Prof. Walter

Julia Ward Howe Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters
In 1908

Born in New York City in 1819, Howe, and her husband, social activist Samuel Gridley Howe, embraced the abolitionist (freedom from slavery) movement. This dedication, as well as Mr. Howe's training as a doctor, led to his appointment to the U.S. Sanitary Commission. As a result of Mr. Howe's work with the Commission, the couple was invited to Washington, D.C., to review the attitudes of Union troops after the First Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War in 1861. Mrs. Howe wrote her "Battle Hymn" soon after, inspired by seeing a real battle.

On November 18, 1861, Howe witnessed a Confederate attack on Union troops in Virginia. She wrote the poem "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," set to the tune of "John Brown's Body," a marching song popular among Union soldiers. It was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1862, and she received just $5 dollars for the piece. It became very popular in the North, commonly sung at public gatherings. After the war, Howe worked for women's rights, prison reform, and sex education, fighting battles for causes she believed in until her death in 1910.

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