Battle Hymn of the Republic (IN: The Atlantic Monthly)

Julia Ward HOWE

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HOWE, Julia Ward. "Battle Hymn of the Republic." IN: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume IX, Number LII (February, 1862), page (145). Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862. Thick octavo, original blind- and gilt-stamped brown cloth.

First printing of Howe's famous Civil War poem, written the morning after she heard Union soldiers singing "John Brown's Body," in the February 1862 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

"I awoke in the grey of the morning, and as I lay waiting for dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to entwine themselves in my mind, and I said to myself, 'I must get up and write these verses, lest I fall asleep and forget them!' So I sprang out of bed and in the dimness found an old stump of a pen, which I remembered using the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper." Perhaps best known for having written the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe was also a devoted abolitionist and social reformer. "No movement or 'Cause' in which women were interested… could be launched without her. Her courage, her incisiveness and quickness of repartee, her constructive power, the completeness of her conviction accompanied by a balance of mind, and a sense of humor that disarmed irritation made her the greatest of woman organizers" (ANB). Her stirring poetic hymn was set to the tune of "John Brown's Body," which Howe had heard soldiers singing during her visit to a Union Army camp. She was taken with its strong marching beat and wrote her famous poem the following morning. The hymn "aroused President Lincoln 'like a trumpet blast,' and became his best loved marching song" (Owen, 143). Volume IX of The Atlantic Monthly, January-June 1862, containing the February 1862 issue (Number 52), in which the Battle Hymn of the Republic first appeared.

Text quite fresh with lightest foxing mainly to preliminaries, mild soiling to cloth. A desirable near-fine copy.

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