0.8 min readBy Published On: January 11th, 2012Categories: Features1 Comment on South Boston History Lesson

Who knew?

In 1861, South Boston resident Julia Ward Howe – the wife of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, director of the Perkins Institute for the Blind – wrote the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic at the request of President Abraham Lincoln.  Originally published as a poem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic was written after Howe visited a Union Army Camp during the Civil War. It was published in February, 1862. 

The poem’s verses replaced the ones of John Brown’s Body, a song sung by Union soldiers.  Howes new verses were more uplifting than the original words of John Brown’s Body and became the unofficial anthem of Union soldiers as well as a great American patriotic anthem. 

Later in life, Howe went on to be a women’s suffragist and served as the first president of the New England Women’s Club.  She lived until she was 91 years old.


Julia Ward Howe

May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910



One Comment

  1. Anonymous January 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    South Boston is honestly the most exciting place to live…past, present, and future! We are a history still in the making and I am so to be a part of it! Southie #1!


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