The Beautiful" was written by Katharine Lee Bates, Wellesley
Class of 1880, in its original form in the summer of 1893 after
a trip to Colorado Springs. It first appeared in print in The
Congregationalist two years later, and within a few months
Silas G. Pratt set it to music. In 1904, after receiving many
requests for use in publications and special services, Katharine
Lee Bates rewrote it to simplify the text. She made one additional
change in the wording of the third stanza a few years later,
to give us the version we know today.
original musical settings, some by distinguished musicians, have
been written for the hymn. The music by S.A. Ward became the
most widely accepted version and is the one still used today.
by its immediate and lasting success, Katharine Lee Bates wrote: "That
the hymn has gained, in these twenty odd years, such a hold as
it has upon our people, is clearly due to the fact that Americans
are at heart idealists, with a fundamental faith in human brotherhood."
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