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‘America the Beautiful’ Has Wellesley Roots

Coca-Cola used the song in controversial commercial.

Katharine Lee Bates. Credit: harvardsquarelibrary.org.
Katharine Lee Bates. Credit: harvardsquarelibrary.org.

If you’ve watched television in the last week, chances are you’ve seen it—a version of “America the Beautiful” sung in various languages as a way to sell Coca-Cola.

The message is that America has no official language and is beautiful. And drinks Coca-Cola.

In response, some have boycotted the soda company, while others have embraced the advertisement.

But the Wellesley community can take pride in knowing that one of their own penned the original poem that became the song.

Katharine Lee Bates, a Wellesley College graduate who later became a professor at the school, wrote the poem while on a trip to Colorado Springs in 1893.

It was later published in 1895 in the Boston Evening Transcript and put to music in 1910.


What do you think about the “America the Beautiful” commercial by Coca-Cola? If you haven't seen it, watch it in the video above. Then tell us in the comments what you think.  


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