Perkins School for the Blind Archive > Collections

This collection consists of material by and about Julia Ward Howe, including poems, plays, music, articles, correspondence, photographs, other documents, and memorabilia. Included are also numerous newspaper clippings and publications in which her work appeared. There are many letters from Florence Nightingale who was a close family friend. Ward Howe was a champion for women's rights, and many of her articles and letters-to-the-editor deal with politics and the suffrage movement.

Julia Ward was born in New York in 1819. In 1843 she married Samuel Gridley Howe, the first director of Perkins School for the Blind, and together they had six children. Julia Ward Howe is today principally remembered for having written The Battle Hymn of the Republic, but during her lifetime she was renowned as an abolitionist, woman suffragist, essayist, lecturer, and poet whose lecture tours were often sold out. She was instrumental in establishing women's rights organizations throughout the country, and in 1908 she was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. At her funeral services in 1910, Boston's Symphony Hall was unable to contain the multitude of mourners (McGinnity, Seymour-Ford, Andries, 2004).

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Rights and Permissions: All images in this collection are the property of Perkins School for the Blind. Use of these images requires written permission. For more information, please contact