Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)
Julia Ward Howe, author, lecturer, and club woman, is best known for writing the Civil War anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and co-founding the American Woman Suffrage Association. with Lucy Stone. She helped found its paper, the Woman’s Journal, which she edited for 20 years. She established and led major women’s clubs and suffrage organizations in the Northeast, and was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Her father was a wealthy Wall Street banker, but her mother died when Julia was five. She married Samuel Gridley Howe, a teacher and abolitionist, and had six children, but the marriage deteriorated. Julia wrote dark poems and plays, thinly disguising her misery with her husband. In 1862, Atlantic Monthly published “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which brought lasting fame. Finding her place in the woman’s movement, she helped found the New England Women’s Club, the American Woman Suffrage Association, the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, and the New England Suffrage Association. Organizing the Association for the Advancement of Women (1873) to improve women’s education and entry into the professions, she was also Director of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (1890s). Known as the “Dearest Old Lady in America,” she lectured widely and traveled the country, founding clubs wherever she went. She died at 91.
Reprinted from NWHM Cyber Exhibit Rights For Women
Author Kristina Gupta
- PHOTO: Julia Ward Howe, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-53518)