Music as Memory: Spirituals, Minstrelsy, and Marching Songs during the Age of Abolitionism


Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) "Battle hymn of the republic" (Philadelphia, 1863?): song sheet.

Poet and abolitionist Julia Ward Howe conceived of the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in 1861, after she attended a review of Union troops in Washington, D.C. One of her travel companions, the Boston Unitarian minister James Freeman Clarke, suggested that she write more elevated lyrics to "John Brown's Body." She immediately took up the challenge, subsequently composing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Since its initial publication in The Atlantic Monthly in February of 1862, it emerged as the anthem of Civil War and a song that keeps marching on.

*AB85.H8385.863b – No source, no date.