Book Talk: Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea

September 7, 2017

Katharine Lee Bates’s poem “America the Beautiful” resonates for many people as the most patriotic and beloved American anthem. Drawing on extensive research in Bates family diaries, letters, and memoirs, biographer Melinda M. Ponder brings Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) to vivid life on her journeys from Falmouth, Massachusetts, where she felt she had been “rock’d in a clamshell,” to Wellesley College, Boston, Oxford, Spain and Egypt. Extremely important in Katharine’s life and career were Henry and Pauline Durant, Founders of Wellesley College, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, all buried at Mount Auburn. She also enjoyed the solace and beauty of the Cemetery, especially at one stressful time in her life. Meet in Story Chapel.

Melinda M. Ponder is a graduate of Katharine Lee Bates’s Wellesley College and received a M.A. in American studies and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Boston College. She has published numerous articles and given many talks and interviews on Katharine Lee Bates, and has published two books on Nathaniel Hawthorne as well. Born in Indianapolis, she now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is on the faculty of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.



Funding for programs has been provided in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Massachusetts Cultural Council

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