Over the River and Through the Wood

As Americans travel to spend Thanksgiving with their friends and family, we think and sometimes even sing "Over the river and through the wood to grandfather's house we go... (or some variation thereof)." I didn't know until quite recently that the poem/song was written by a woman! Other women have also written poems that have become well-loved and familiar songs. Match the woman with her poem/song:

____ 1. She penned a poem titled "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day" which began "Over the river, and through the wood to grandfather's house we go"

____ 2. She wrote the lyrics for America the Beautiful

____ 3. She wrote Battle Hymn of the Republic

____ 4. She wrote the hymn Blessed Assurance

A. Julia Ward Howe
B. Lydia Maria Child
C. Fanny Crosby
D. Katharine Lee Bates

Julia Ward Howe came by her writing talent congenitally; her mother had been a published poet. At a time when girls were not educated (at least not to the standards we know today and certainly not to the same level as boys), Howe read the books that her brother sent home from England and became quite well educated. During the early years of their marriage, Howe adhered to her husband's wishes and did not publish her work. After their separation, however, she began to publish her poetry. A supporter of abolition, women's rights, and education as well as a newspaper editor and writer, Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1861. She was also instrumental in creating Mother's Day. Howe has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Author, abolitionist and human rights advocate Lydia Maria Child wrote her first novel in 1824. The success of her second novel in 1825, led to her founding a bimonthly magazine for children in 1826. Her 1833 book is considered the first anti-slavery publication and led many Americans to consider abolishing slavery. Probably best known for her poem "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day" which began "Over the river and through the wood", she was the first woman who earned an income from her writing. Child has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

The most prolific hymnist in history, Fanny Crosby became blind at the age of six weeks. Her first verse was written when she was eight years old. She was educated at the New York Institute for the Blind, and later served for many years as a teacher there. During the course of her life, she wrote more than 8,000 hymns with one of the best known being "Blessed Assurance." Because so many of the songs in the hymnals would have borne her name, she also wrote under a number of pseudonyms.

Known for penning an 1893 poem that became the lyrics for the song "America the Beautiful", Katharine Lee Bates was a professor of English at Wellesley College. Known as a scholar of English literature, particularly of William Shakespeare, Bates spent the summer of 1893 in Colorado. Inspired by the view from Pike's Peak, she wrote her poem which was first published in 1895. Revised several times over the years, by 1926 it was sung in the form that we know today.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These poetic women are profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. They contributed to our culture and we salute their accomplishments.

(Answers 1-B, 2-D, 3-A, 4-C )