Author: Katharine Lee Bates

Katharine Lee Bates (1859–1929) was an American songwriter and poet best known for penning the song “America the Beautiful.” The poem, originally called “Pikes Peak,” was inspired by the sights Bates had seen on a train ride to and from Colorado Springs, especially by the vista she beheld from the top of Pikes Peak. As she explained, “Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.” Bates was a prolific author of many volumes of poetry, travel books, and children’s books. She popularized Mrs. Claus in her poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride” from the collection Sunshine and Other Verses for Children (1889).

America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates

What is the connection between the beautiful things we celebrate and the moral qualities we need and pray for? Reflect on Katharine Lee Bates’s poem, its celebration of America’s natural gifts, and its plea for brotherhood.