The Nation: Willard Battle Hymn

In two separate incarnations, half a century apart, the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., played rich roles in the nation's history. Before his first in auguration, Abraham Lincoln brought his family to stay at the original Willard, which opened in 1847 within two blocks of the White House. Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic at the hotel. President Ulysses S. Grant had a special chair in the lobby, where he used to sit and smoke for hours while scandal crackled around his administration.

The second Willard, built on the same site in 1901, was just as successful....

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