Tags: abolition | lane | seminary | slavery

122 Years Ago Yesterday, Harriet Beecher Stowe Died

122 Years Ago Yesterday, Harriet Beecher Stowe Died

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is seen in Brunswick, Maine. The author wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" while living at the house. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

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Monday, 02 July 2018 04:10 PM Current | Bio | Archive

July 2, 2018: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, died 122 years ago yesterday.[1]

Her most famous book brought the horrific reality of slavery to Northern audiences and bolstered the anti-slavery movement in advance of the Civil War. A half-million copies of "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" were sold in the U.S. within five years of its publication in 1852.

Sales were even greater overseas. In England, it was estimated that sales were "10 times as many as of any other volume except the Bible and Prayer Book."

It is hard to overstate the cultural impact of Stowe's writing. Within a year of its publication, over 300 babies in Boston were named after one of the book’s characters. A play based on the book opened quickly in New York.[2]

Stowe grew up in a deeply religious family. According toThe New York Times, she had an extraordinary memory and at an early age memorized the bulk of the Bible along with classic works of English literature. She married a seminary professor from Ohio, an active stop on the abolition movement’s underground railroad. Lane Seminary was "a flowering hotbed of abolition" and "anti-slavery agitation," which provided an opportunity for Stowe to meet former slaves and their heartbreaking plight. That was the reality she tried to pass on in "Uncle Tom’s Cabin."

Later in life, Stowe also spoke out for the rights of married women. "[T]he position of a married woman . . . is, in many respects, precisely similar to that of the negro slave.”[3]

Footnotes:

  1. The New York Times, "Obituary: Harriet Beecher Stowe," July 2, 1896
  2. Morgan, J. (2007). Uncle Tom's Cabin As Visual Culture. University of Missouri Press. (page 137)
  3. Homestead, M. (2005). American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869. NY: Cambridge University Press. (page 29)

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Stowe grew up in a deeply religious family. According toThe New York Times, she had an extraordinary memory and at an early age memorized the bulk of the Bible along with classic works of English literature.
abolition, lane, seminary, slavery
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2018-10-02
Monday, 02 July 2018 04:10 PM
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