Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Howe, Samuel Gridley

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HOWE, Samuel Gridley, philanthropist, b. in Boston, Mass., 10 Nov., 1801; d. there, 9 Jan., 1876. He was graduated at Brown in 1821, and at the Harvard medical school in 1824. After completing his studies he went to Greece, where he served as surgeon in the war for the independence in 1824-'7, and then as the head of the regular surgical service, which he established in that country. In 1827 he returned to the United States in order to obtain help for the Greeks when they were threatened with a famine, and later founded a colony on the isthmus of Corinth, but in consequence of prostration by swamp-fever he was obliged in 1830 to leave the country. In 1831, his attention having been called to the need of schools for the blind, for whose education no provision had been made in this country, he again visited Europe in order to study the methods of instruction then in use for the purpose of acquiring information concerning the education of the blind. While in Paris he was made president of the Polish committee. In his efforts to convey and distribute funds for the relief of a detachment of the Polish army that had crossed into Prussia, he was arrested by the Prussian authorities, but, after six weeks' imprisonment, was taken to the French frontier by night and liberated. On his return to Boston in 1832 he gathered several blind pupils at his father's house, and thus gave origin to the school which was afterward known as the Perkins institution, and of which he was the first superintendent, continuing in this office until his death. His greatest achievement in this direction was the education of Laura Bridgman (q. v.). Dr. Howe also took an active part in founding the experimental school for the training of idiots, which resulted in the organization of the Massachusetts school for idiotic and feeble-minded youth in 1851. He was actively engaged in the anti-slavery movement, and was a Free-soil candidate for congress from Boston in 1846. During 1851-'3 he edited the “Commonwealth.” Dr. Howe took an active part in the sanitary movement in behalf of the soldiers during the civil war. In 1867 he again went to Greece as bearer of supplies for the Cretans in their struggle with the Turks, and subsequently edited in Boston “The Cretan.” He was appointed, in 1871, one of the commissioners to visit Santo Domingo and report upon the question of the annexation of that island to the United States, of which he became an earnest advocate. In 1868 he received the degree of LL. D. from Brown. His publications include letters on topics of the time; various reports, especially those of the Massachusetts commissioners of idiots (Boston, 1847-'8); “Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution” (New York, 1828); and a “Reader for the Blind,” printed in raised characters (1839). See “Memoir of Dr. Samuel G. Howe,” by Mrs. Julia Ward Howe (Boston, 1876). —

Appletons' Howe Samuel Gridley - Julia Ward.jpg
Appletons' Howe Samuel Gridley - Julia Ward signature.jpg

His wife, Julia Ward, b. in New York city, 27 May, 1819, is the daughter of Samuel Ward, a New York banker. Her mother, Julia Rush Ward, was the author of various occasional poems. Julia was carefully educated, partly at home and partly in private schools in New York. Her tutor in German and Latin was Dr. Joseph G. Cogswell. At an early age Miss Ward wrote plays and poems. After her father's death she visited Boston, and met there Dr. Howe, whom she married in 1843. She afterward continued her studies, learned to speak fluently in Italian, French, and Greek, and became a student of Kant, Hegel, Spinoza, Comte, and Fichte. She also wrote philosophical essays, which she read at her house before her literary friends. For some time before the civil war she conducted with her husband the Boston “Commonwealth,” an anti-slavery paper. In 1861, while on a visit to the camps near Washington, with Gov. John A. Andrew and other friends, Mrs. Howe wrote the “Battle-Hymn of the Republic,” which soon became popular. She espoused the woman-suffrage movement in 1869, and was one of the founders of the New England women's club, of which she has been president since 1872. She has also presided over several similar associations, including the American woman-suffrage association. In 1872 she was a delegate to the World's prison reform congress in London, and in the same year aided in founding the Woman's peace association there. In 1884-'5 she presided over the Woman's branch of the New Orleans exposition. She has delivered numerous lectures, and has often addressed the Massachusetts legislature in aid of reforms. She has preached in Rome, Italy, Santo Domingo, and from Unitarian pulpits in this country. She has also read lectures at the Concord school of philosophy. Mrs. Howe has published two volumes of poems, entitled “Passion Flowers” (Boston, 1854), and “Words for the Hour”(1857); “The World's Own,” a drama, which was acted at Wallack's theatre, New York, in 1855 (1857); “A Trip to Cuba” (1860); “Later Lyrics” (1866); “From the Oak to the Olive” (1868); “ Modern Society,” two lectures (1881); and “Life of Margaret Fuller” (1883). She has also edited “Sex and Education,” a reply to Dr. Edward H. Clarke's “Sex in Education” (1874); and wrote for Edwin Booth, in 1858, “Hippolytus,” a tragedy, which has been neither acted nor published. — Their daughter, Julia Romana, educator, b. in Rome, Italy, 12 March, 1844; d. in Boston, Mass., 10 March, 1886, became proficient in history and languages, and was an instructor in the Perkins institution, where at one time she taught German to a blind class so well that her pupils were able to converse fluently in that language. She was the founder and for some time president of the Metaphysical club in Boston, and published a sketch of the Concord school of philosophy, also “Stray Chords” (Boston, 1884), a volume of poems. In December, 1870, she married Michael Anagnos, who succeeded her father as superintendent of the Perkins institution. — Their son, Henry Marion, mining engineer, b. in Boston, Mass., 2 March, 1848, was graduated at Harvard in 1869, and at the Massachusetts institute of technology in 1871. His attention was then turned to mining engineering and metallurgy, and he has had charge of various works in the United States and Canada. Mr. Howe is an active member of the American institute of mining engineers, was its vice-president in 1879-'81, and has been a manager since 1886. His publications, consisting of professional papers, have been contributed to the transactions of the mining engineers, and treat principally of the metallurgy of iron, steel, copper, and nickel. He has also written valuable treatises for the “Bulletins of the U. S. Geological Survey,” such as “Copper Smelting” (Washington, 1885), and “Metallurgy of Steel” (1887). — Another daughter, Maud, author, b. in Boston, Mass., 9 Nov., 1855, married in February, 1887, John Elliott, an English artist. She has published “San Rasario Ranch” (Boston, 1884); “A Newport Aquarelle” (1885); and “Atalanta in the South” (1886).