History's Women: Misc. Articles: Julia Ward Howe, Author, Philanthropist, LecturerJulia Ward Howe
Author, Philanthropist, Lecturer
1819 – 1910 A.D.

Miss Ward was born of wealthy parents in the most fashionable part of New York. The mother died when Julia was but five years old. Her father was very exact in his observance of all social forms, and sought to give his children the best literary and musical advantages. His home was the gathering place of many people of renown.

After her father’s death, Miss Ward removed to Boston, where, owing to her marked abilities, she was received into the society of such notables as Margaret Fuller, Horace Mann, Charles Sumner, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Here she met Dr. Samuel G. Howe. He had already become well known for espousing the cause of the Greeks and the Turks and carrying supplies to them in the island of Crete and ministering to them in person. He was best known, however, as the teacher of Laura Bridgman.

Miss Ward and Dr. Howe were married and traveled in Europe. Charles Dickens had written about the wonderful development of Laura Bridgman and this was the means of the newly married couple being admitted to the society of Dickens, Thomas Moore, Carlyle, Sydney Smith, and other literary and social lights. They were invited to visit Florence Nightingale, who was dreaming and planning her great work, and was helped by Dr. Howe.

Upon their return to America, Dr. and Mrs. Howe became identified with the anti-slavery movement. She had been for years a bright and vigorous writer. Her pen was now wielded for the race of bondmen.

During the war they were visiting the soldiers in camp near Washington. During the visit Mrs. Howe and others in the carriages sang, “John Brown,” in which the soldiers joined. One of her friends told her she ought to write something better for the music. Next morning she was awake long before dawn and wrote the famous Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Mrs. Howe has written extensively for being our leading periodicals on a great variety of themes, and is widely known and loved.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.

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