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Katharine Lee Bates Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 12, 1859 in Falmouth, Massachusetts
Died: March 28, 1929 in Wellesley, Massachusetts
Biography | show moreshow less
Bates, who had joined the faculty of Wellesley College as Professor of English Literature in 1886, authored several travel books and a history of American literature in addition to her volumes of poetry. She is best known for writing "America the Beautiful". Inspired by a trip to Pike's Peak, the original four-stanza poem was first printed in the July 4, 1895 issue of "The Congregationalist" newspaper. Several revisions were made before its publication in the "Boston Evening Transcript" in 1904. Popularly sung to the music of Samuel A. Ward's "Materna", "America the Beautiful" was a strong contender to become the country's national anthem. In a 1931 proclamation by President Herbert Hoover, however, the honor went to the "Star-Spangled Banner". Bates kept the copyright to her poem to prevent its alteration but never sought royalties for its publication or performance.

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