d. March 28, 1929
Bates was educated at Wellesley College where she subsequently taught until her retirement in 1925, by which time she was chair of the English Department. While on the staff at Wellesley she met Katharine Coman, who was the Dean of Wellesley College, for 25 years. The two women enjoyed a romantic friendship of an intense nature, and Bates lived with her lover. When Coman was diagnosized as suffering from cancer, Bates nursed her until the former's death in 1915. In the years following Coman's death, Bates wrote Yellow clover;: A book of remembrance. Almost all the poems there contained refer to the relationship between Bates and Coman.
Bates popularized "Mrs. Santa Claus" through her poem "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride" (1889), and also wrote the famous poem, for which she is best remembered, sung in the song "America the Beautiful":
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!