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Purple Mountain Majesties: The Story of…

Purple Mountain Majesties: The Story of Katharine Lee Bates and "America…

by Barbara Younger

Other authors: Stacey Schuett (Illustrator)

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193461,059 (4.11)1



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  SteppLibrary | Mar 5, 2017 |
The story of Professor Katherine Lee Bates’s journey from Wellesley College to Colorado Springs to be a guest lecturer for three weeks in July 1893, and the remarkably famous poem that she wrote as a result. On the way she visited Niagara Falls, the Chicago World’s Fair with its White City a vision of a hopeful future, which she would remember as an “alabaster city undimmed by human tears,” then across the Great Plains to Colorado. Having rested, she took some time between her lectures to see the sights, and in one outing with a group of other teachers she rode to the top of Pike’s Peak for a brief but powerfully inspiring look at the Rocky Mountains spread out purple in the afternoon light. Returning from the tour, she began to write:

O beautiful for halcyon skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee

Two years later she submitted the poem to a magazine for its Fourth of July issue. It became wildly popular. And soon many composers used its lyrics to create a patriotic song. Bates revised her lyrics twice to make them, “a bit more musical,” with “more simple and direct” language. It became her most famous poem. ( )
  MaowangVater | Sep 7, 2015 |
This is a story about Katharine Lee Bates, a brilliant writer from childhood, who wrote America the Beautiful. She traveled cross- country on a train and we read about the "alabaster cities" she saw gleam at the World's Colombian Exposition in New York and the amber waves she saw as she crossed the Great Plains. She spent time in the Rocky Mountains, glowing purple, and her poem came together quite on accident after that. A contest was held to discover Samuel Ward was the best man with the music.

I am highly patriotic because my husband is in the Army. The Star-Spangled Banner makes me cry. America the Beautiful makes me cry. The flag can make me cry on the right day. All that to say, I love the patriotic tone in this book. The mood is adoration for our country. And that is a spirit that we could always use a little more of.

In a class, there are a number of activities to do. The most obvious would of course be to learn the song America the Beautiful. Then, the next step would be to record that and send a recording to the soldiers stationed overseas. I also think an important part of this lesson could be "What does America mean to you?" Write it, sing it paint it. Do something for America and videotape it. However the kids choose to express themselves. Again, I would send a copy of those (with the students'/parents' permission) to Iraq.
  AStall | Sep 7, 2009 |
This is a great biography of Katherine Lee Bates, the author of America the Beautiful. It has beautiful pictures and is written in a way that is interesting to students. ( )
  mrsarey | Nov 26, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Youngerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schuett, StaceyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142301817, Paperback)

In the summer of 1893, a young professor named Katharine Lee Bates took a train west from Masachusetts to Colorado. On her trip, she saw the beauty and the grandeur of our nation-its mountains, fertile prairies, and shining seas-and was moved to compose a poem that would later be set to music and stir generations to come. Glowing paintings and lyrical text blend together to show the magnificence of the United States of America and how it inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen the poem that would become our nation's unofficial national anthem.

Illustrated by Stacey Schuett

"Younger makes a living character out of Bates, whose quirks and full-bodied charm gracefully flow from the letters and diary excerpts." (Kirkus Reviews, pointer review)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A brief biography of the author and college professor whose travels across the United States inspired her to write the poem which became the song "America the Beautiful."

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