Julia Ward Howe

 Credits / Citations


b. New York City, NY, May 27, 1819

d. Newport, RI, October 17, 1910


Writer, poet, leader for suffrage, reformer, and author of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  First woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1908). 


Born into a wealthy New York City family. Receives education from governesses and in private schools. Childhood spent in NYC. 


Descendant of two colonial Rhode Island governors, Richard and Samuel Ward. 


In 1831 Howe family arrives on Aquidneck Island as summer residents. Family lives in various locations before purchasing home known as "Ashurst Cottage," "Buttonwood," and most often referred to as "Redwood Lodge." House at corner of Bellevue Avenue and Old Beach Road no longer exists -- present grounds of Redwood Library.


On visit to Boston in 1841, meets future husband Samuel G. Howe, noted philanthropist, educator, founder of the Perkins Institute for the Blind.  Marries April 23, 1843.  Settles in Boston; not well-received because of  New York background; helps husband in the anti-slavery periodical, the Commonwealth


In the early 1850s, Julia establishes summer residence in South Portsmouth at Lawton's Valley.  Not far away, another property is purchased.  Known as "Oak Glen," it becomes a long-time summer home.  House stands at 745 Union Street. 


Introduces the idea in the United States of establishing Mother's Day. This idea did not originate in America, and other women were instrumental in its organization.


Gains national recognition upon publication of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"in Atlantic Monthly.  Written in 1861, published in February 1862; Ward received four dollars.  This hymn is composed to the rhythm of "John Brown's Body." 


In 1868, the New England Woman's Club is formed.  Julia is one of its first vice presidents.  Becomes president of the New England Woman Suffrage Association. The following year, becomes one of the leaders of the American Woman Suffrage Association. 


Responsible for establishing the Town and Country Club. Members of club include Samuel Coleman, Charlotte Cushman, and George E. Waring.  Formed in 1871, it meets for about 30 summers. The club's activities have a strong literary emphasis.  Geographical and cultural backgrounds of members vary widely. 


Dies at her summer home in 1910, ending an almost lifelong association with area.  Funeral is held at Channing Memorial Church, which she had attended regularly.  



"Dr. Samuel G. Howe," Newport Mercury, 15 January 1876.


"Mrs. Julia Ward Howe Dead," Newport Daily News, 17 October 1910.


"Mrs. Howe," Newport Daily News, 17 October 1910.


"Death of Mrs. Howe," Newport Mercury, 22 October 1910.


"Mrs. Julia Ward Howe," Newport Mercury, 22 October 1910.


"Mrs. Howe's Memorial," Newport Mercury, 5 November 1910.


"Maud Howe Elliott Dies, Noted Author," Newport Daily News, 20 March 1948.


Boyer, Paul S.  "Howe, Julia Ward" in  Notable American Women 1607-1950. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971. 2:225-229.


Covell, Virginia Galvin.  "A Critical Examination of the Town and Country Club of Newport, Rhode Island"  Thesis, M.A., English, University of Rhode Island, 1964.


Darney, Virginia.  "Maude Howe Elliott" in American Women Writers.  vol. 1. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing., 1979. 586-588.


Elliott, Maud Howe.  The Eleventh Hour in the Life of Julia Ward Howe.  Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1911.


Elliott, Maud Howe.  This Was My Newport.  Cambridge, MA: The Mythology Company, 1944.


Elliott, Maud Howe.  Three Generations.  Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1923.


Gerry, Margaarita S.  "Howe, Julia Ward" in Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 9. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. 291-293.


Grant, Mary H.  "Julia Ward Howe" in American Women Writers.  vol. 2. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1980. 340-342.


Hall, Florence Howe.  Story of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  New York: Harper & Brothers, 1916.


Hatch, Jane M. ed.  American Book of Days.  3rd ed.  New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1978. 439,440.


Howe, Julia Ward.  Reminiscences 1819-1899.  Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1899.


Howe, Maud.  "Julia Ward Howe,"  Authors at Home.  New York: Cassell & Company, Limited, 1888. 181-192.


Kunitz, Stanley J. and Howard Haycraft, eds.  American Authors 1600-1900.  New York: The H. W. Wilson Compnay, 1938. 391-392.


Levenson, J.C.  "Elliott, Maud Howe" in  Notable American Women 1607-1950. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971. 1:574-576.


National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. 1.  New York: James T. White & Company, 1898. 402,403 (Howe, Julia Ward).


National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. 36.  New York: James T. White & Company, 1950. 435,436 (Elliott, Maud Howe).


Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission.  State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Preliminary Survey Report Town of Portsmouth.  1979. 51,52.


Richards, Laura E.  Two Noble Lives.  Boston: Dana Estes and Company, 1911.


Richards, Laura E. and Maud Howe Elliott.  Julia Ward Howe 1819-1910.  Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916.


Sanborn Map Company, Atlas of Newport, Jamestown, Middletown and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, New York, 1921, no. 30.


Tharp, Louise Hall.  Three Saints and a Sinner.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1956.


World Almanac and Book of Facts.  Mahwah, NJ: World Almanac Books, 1996. 325.


Who Was Who in America.  vol. 2. Chicago: The A. N. Marquis Company, 1950. 173 (Elliott, Maud Howe). 




Researcher/Writer: Brian Stinson

Project Editors: Lynda Bronaugh, Jennifer K. Caswell, Christian-Albrecht Gollub, Brian Stinson

Funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

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