Meet the American who wrote 'America the Beautiful,' Katharine Lee Bates, professor-poet prayed for unity

Katharine Lee Bates grew up on Cape Cod's limited coastline with wind- and tide-shifting dunes. Later a Wellesley College professor, Bates travelled 2,000 miles to teach in Colorado in July 1893.  

After witnessing the Rocky Mountains' timeless stability, she took her aerial US shot. Bates wrote "America the Beautiful." She described Pike's Peak as her "rapture" and "ecstatic gaze," 14,000 feet high.   

"O beautiful for spacious skies/For amber waves of grain/For purple mountain majesties/Above the fruited plain!" Read her American panegyric intro. Her words resonate nationwide.    

"It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of the fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind," Bates wrote in the paper.   

"When we left Colorado Springs, the four stanzas were pencilled in my notebook, together with other memoranda, in verse and prose, of the trip."  

The Boston Christian daily "The Congregationalist," published her poetry "Pike's Peak," on July 4, 1895. A strong message spread quickly. Several attempts were made to set the lyrics to music.   

The national spiritual was created in 1910 by Newark, New Jersey church composer Samuel Augustus Ward, who set her words to music. Perhaps "America the Beautiful"'s most famous painting is a landscape.   

Discover the American who authored 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' A spiritual cry to unity. A prayer.  Bates called it hymn. After tragedy, modern intellectuals recognised faith's basics.   

Civil War child. In "For Spacious Skies," Bates biographer Nancy Churnin told Fox News Digital national divide was possible.  

On this day in history, July 3, 1962, Tom Cruise is born, goes on to star in 'Born on the Fourth of July' 

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