Julia Neely Finch

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Julia Neely Finch (born June 14, 1850 in Columbus, Mississippi; died September 29, 1926 in Pomfret, Connecticut) was a poet and writer.

Julia was the daughter of Reverend Philip Phillips Neely and his wife, the former Jessie Alice Towler. Her father, a Methodist minister, served as Bishop in Mobile. He died when she was 18. Within a year she married Edwin Wilson Finch and the couple had three children: Edwin, Philip and Lucine.

Philip, a member of the Jefferson Volunteers, died from typhoid fever in Florida during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Finch was widowed in 1900 came to Birmingham where she resided with her oldest son, Edwin.

Finch was a prolific writer of poems and short stories, and specialized in recording "Mammy stories" as told by older Black women, in dialect. Her work was regularly published in women's magazines. One of her poems, "The Unborn", was reprinted in Edmund Clarence Stedman's An American Anthology: 1787–1900, published by Houghton Mifflin in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1906 she co-founded the Birmingham Music Study Club with harpist Alice Hallé Chalifoux and pianist Laura Davids.

By 1920 she had moved to Pomfret, Connecticut to live with her daughter, Lucine.

During the next few years, Julia's health began to fail. She was largely confined to bed and attended by a nurse. She died there in 1926. Her remains were brought to Birmingham and interred alongside her mother and son at Oak Hill Cemetery. Her papers and correspondence are archived at the University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository.


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