As her biographer, I have been following the trail of Katharine Lee Bates for the last twenty years. I give book talks frequently and am glad to tailor my talks to topics of interest to your group.
Katharine as a Patriotic American who wrote “America the Beautiful" How did Katharine’s Falmouth childhood, her student days at Wellesley College, and her trips to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and up to Pike’s Peak in Colorado inspire her to write the first version of “America the Beautiuful”? Why did she revise it ten years later into the song we sing today after her months in Spain and her knowledge of the bloody Philippine-American War? [SLIDESHOW ]
Katharine in Boston Katharine's "America the Beautiful" resonates for many as the most patriotic and beloved American anthem. Poet, scholar, traveller, social activist, and Wellesley College professor, Katharine had published an early version of "America the Beautiful" in Boston's The Congregationalist in 1895 after her summer in Colorado below the "purple mountain majesties." But it was her next years, “dashing into slippery Boston” as a New Woman that empowered her to re-write her poem with a new theme of "brotherhood/ From sea to shining sea.” There she also transformed the field of American Literature and mentored such younger poets as Robert Frost. [SLIDESHOW ]
"Katie of '80": Katharine Lee Bates and Wellesley College From the time that Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929), future poet of “America the Beautiful,” rode through Wellesley College’s bucolic campus up to gigantic College Hall overlooking Lake Waban, she was exactly the kind of student that college founder Henry Durant wanted for his new college that he called “Harvard University for Girls.” “Women can do the work,” he said, “I give them the chance.” By bringing publishers and such famous American poets as his friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to the Wellesley campus, Durant helped launch Katharine’s writing career and her later travels to Colorado, Oxford, Spain, and Egypt. She then used the Wellesley campus herself to host and mentor such young poets as Robert Frost. [SLIDESHOW ]
Katharine as a Traveller Where did Katharine’s childhood fascination with exploring the “wonderful and wide” world take her? How did her travels west to Chicago, and Colorado Springs, and then overseas to England and Spain inspire her to write and then significantly revise “America the Beautiful”? How did her adventures in Egypt and the Middle East create her final vision of her song? [ SLIDESHOW ]
Katharine as a Shaper of American Literature After America’s most popular 19th century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow encouraged her, how did Katharine help create the new controversial field of “American” literature? And after writing her own revolutionary poems, how did she pass Longfellow’s mantle on to Robert Frost, and enable poets to reach millions of American readers? [SLIDESHOW ]
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"Thank you so much for making Book Club so special. The conversation with the author and your introductory notes were wonderful. I left the evening feeling much more appreciative of the book and all that went in to writing the book."
"A Garden of Delight" — Following Katharine Lee Bates in Spain
On Sabbatical with Katharine Lee Bates in Egypt
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