Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) famously wrote the lyric, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” after meeting Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The well- educated daughter of a prosperous banker, Howe grew up among luminaries like Charles Dickens and Margaret Fuller, but her life was punctuated by painful losses, including that of her mother when Howe was only five. An ardent abolitionist and suffragist, Howe co-founded the Women’s Journal and co-led numerous feminist organizations with Lucy Stone, most notably the American Woman Suffrage Association. Howe’s 1870 plea for peace, “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world,” eventually inspired Mother’s Day. Her diverse bibliography includes confessional poetry (Passion- Flowers), memoir (Reminiscences), and coeducational defense (Sex and Education). Howe was the first woman ever elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1908). Her children won the Pulitzer Prize for their collaboration on her posthumous biography.
“[I]nfanticide [is] usually a crime of gross selfishness, though under some circumstances, the struggle against it must be agonizing. Nature has a dark horror of the act, I think.” —From Howe’s diary, October 16, 1873