On this day in 1893, Katherine Lee Bates penned “America the Beautiful”
July 22, 2024
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 22 of July, repeating indefinitely
On this day in 1893, English professor and social activist Katharine Lee Bates penned “America the Beautiful,” a poem that would soon be turned into the beloved song we still cherish today.
The poem turned song not only celebrates the natural beauty of our country, but encourages goodness, brotherhood, and continued blessings and improvement. After the poem was published two years later and subsequently put to music, Bates gave hundreds to thousands of permissions away for free. The song was particularly popular in church hymnals and among patriotic readers.
Did you know? Bates was inspired to write the poem after traveling west through Niagara Falls, Chicago, and prairie land. A crowning moment of the trip was her journey to the top of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains. In fact, Bates jotted down the opening lines from the top of Pikes Peak, while gazing across “the sea-like expanse of fertile country.”
The view from Pikes Peak is, indeed, expansive – the viewer can look across the Rocky Mountains, seeing nearly as far as Kansas.
Pikes Peak, Albert Bierstadt, c. 19th century