Howe, Julia Ward

Howe, Julia Ward, 1819–1910, American author and social reformer, b. New York City. Although unhappily married, she assisted her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, in his philanthropic projects and in editing the Boston Commonwealth, an abolitionist paper. Her first book of poetry was published in 1854. After giving birth to her sixth and last child in 1859, she was free to write and lecture in behalf of woman suffrage, African-American emancipation, and other causes, and to help found a world peace organization. In Nov., 1861, after watching Union troops march into battle, she wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” her most famous work. The American Academy of Arts and Letters elected her as its first woman member in 1908. Besides writing several volumes of poetry, she was the author of critical works on Goethe and Schiller, Sex and Education (1874), Modern Society (1881), and a biography of Margaret Fuller (1883). A fragmentary novel of hers was discovered in 1977 and published as The Hermaphrodite (2004).

See her Reminiscences, 1819–1899 (1899); biographies by her daughters L. E. Richards and M. H. Elliott (1915, repr. 1970), V. H. Ziegler (2004), and E. Showalter (2016); L. H. Tharp, Three Saints and a Sinner (1956).

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