America the Beautiful

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AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL is a patriotic hymn that originated as a poem written by Katharine Lee Bates in the summer of 1893 after a trip to Colorado Springs. The poem first appeared in The Congregationalist in 1895 and was set to music months later. Bates simplified the text in 1904 and made changes to the third stanza years later to create the words that are known today. From over seventy musical settings, the one now best known was written by S. A. Ward. Many citizens have lobbied Congress to make it the national anthem. The beloved hymn was performed frequently following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.


Bates, Katharine Lee. Selected Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930.

Sherr, Lynn. "America the Beautiful": The Stirring True Story behind Our Nation's Favorite Song. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.

Connie AnnKirk

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America the Beautiful. Patriotic Amer. hymn, words by Katharine Lee Bates (1859–1929) pubd. 1895. Set to mus. (1913) of Samuel Augustus Ward (1848–1903) taken from his hymn Materna (1882).

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