1819 - 1910 Author of "Glory! glory! Hallelujah!" in The Hymnal Born: May 27, 1819, New York City.
Died: October 17, 1910, Middletown, Rhode Island.
Buried: Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Howe, Julia, née Ward, born in New York City in 1819, and married in 1843 the American philanthropist S. G. Howe. She has taken great interest in political matters, and is well known through her prose and poetical works. Of the latter there are Passion Flower, 1854; Words of the Hour, 1856; Later Lyrics, 1866; and From Sunset Ridge, 1896. Her Battle Hymn of the Republic, "eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord," was written in 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War, and was called forth by the sight of troops for the seat of war, and published in her Later Lyrics, 1806, p. 41. It is found in several American collections, including The Pilgrim Hymnal, 1904, and others. [M. C. Hazard, Ph.D.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)
Howe, Julia Ward. (New York, New York, May 27, 1819--October 17, 1910). Married Samuel Gridley Howe on April 26, 1843. She was a woman with a distinguished personality and intellect; an abolitionist and active in social reforms; author of several book in prose and verse. The latter include Passion Flower, 1854; Words of the Hours, 1856; Later Lyrics, 1866; and From a Sunset Ridge, 1896.
She became famous as the author of the poem entitled "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which, in spite of its title, was written as a patriotic song and not as a hymn for use in public worship, but which has been included in many American hymn books. It was written on November 19, 1861, while she and her husband, accompanied by their pastor, Rev. James Freeman Clarke, minister of the (Unitarian) Church of the Disciples, Boston, were visiting Washington soon after the outbreak of the Civil War. She had seen the troops gathered there and had heard them singing "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave" to a popular tune called "Glory, Hallelujah" composed a few years earlier by William Steffe of Charleston, South Carolina, for Sunday School use. Dr. Clarke asked Julie Howe if she could not write more uplifting words for the tune and as she woke early the next morning she found the verses forming in her mind as fast as she could write them down, so completely that later she re-wrote only a line or two in the last stanza and changed only four words in other stanzas. She sent the poem to The Atlantic Monthly, which paid her $4 and published it in its issue for February, 1862. It attracted little attention until it caught the eye of Chaplain C. C. McCable (later a Methodist bishop) who had a fine singing voice and who taught it first to the 122nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiment to which he was attached, then to other troops, and to prisoners in Libby Prison after he was made a prisoner of war. Thereafter it quickly came into use throughout the North as an expression of the patriotic emotion of the period.
--Henry Wilder Foote, DNAH Archives
Julia Ward Howe