Social reformer Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) was a good friend of Isabella Stewart Gardner. Howe wrote ”The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a pro-Union, anti-slavery, civil war song in 1861, and it was first pubished in the magazine The Atlantic a year later. This copy of the song was published by the New England Women’s Club in 1889 during Ward’s appointment as Club President. It includes her account of writing the lyrics the morning after visiting Union troops.
Ten years later Isabella gave the New England Women’s Club a portrait of her friend painted by Andreas Martin Anderson. She wrote, ”For the sake of the love & honour in which we all hold Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, may I offer this portrait of her, painted by Andreas Anderson? As she is enshrined in all our hearts, so I feel sure this portrait of her will be given a shrine, as it were, in the New England Woman's Club.” The Club gratefully accepted Isabella’s gift, and Isabella kept a photograph of the painting in the Berenson Case in the Blue Room, along with Julia's letters.