• Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his study, circa 1875.

    Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe, 1852.

Julia Ward Howe, 1852.

Most famous for writing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) was a reformer and writer and the wife of Samuel Gridley Howe. Both spent much time at the House and were good friends with the Longfellows.

Howe became interested in social causes, particularly abolitionism and women’s suffrage. Although her husband disapproved of her working outside the home, he relied heavily on her contributions as a writer and editor for the Boston Commonwealth, the daily newspaper of the Boston Emancipation League for which he was the publisher. (Henry Longfellow’s account book shows that he gave ten dollars to the Emancipation League on February 17, 1863.) She was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honorary society begun in 1904 which chooses the most exceptional artists, writers, and composers in America and was then considered the highest recognition.

Did You Know?

Alice Longfellow, c. 1890.

Alice Longfellow, the poet's oldest daughter, was interested in women's education and was an influential figure in the founding of Radcliffe College.