Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (/stoʊ/; June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. She came from the Beecher family, a famous religious family, and is best known for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), which depicts the harsh conditions for enslaved African Americans. The book reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and Great Britain, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. Stowe wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential for both her writings and her public stances and debates on social issues of the day.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
|Born||Harriet Elisabeth Beecher|
June 14, 1811
Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
|Died||July 1, 1896 (aged 85)|
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
|Pen name||Christopher Crowfield|
|Spouse||Calvin Ellis Stowe|
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14, 1811. She was the seventh of 13 children  born to outspoken Calvinist preacher Lyman Beecher. Her mother was his first wife, Roxana (Foote), a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was only five years old. Roxana's maternal grandfather was General Andrew Ward of the Revolutionary War. Her notable siblings included a sister, Catharine Beecher, who became an educator and author, as well as brothers who became ministers: including Henry Ward Beecher, who became a famous preacher and abolitionist, Charles Beecher, and Edward Beecher.
Harriet enrolled in the Hartford Female Seminary run by her older sister Catharine. There she received a traditional academic education, usually only reserved for males at the time, with a focus in the classics, including studies of languages and mathematics. Among her classmates was Sarah P. Willis, who later wrote under the pseudonym Fanny Fern.
In 1832, at the age of 21, Harriet Beecher moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to join her father, who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary. There, she also joined the Semi-Colon Club, a literary salon and social club whose members included the Beecher sisters, Caroline Lee Hentz, Salmon P. Chase (future governor of the state and Secretary of Treasury under President Lincoln), Emily Blackwell and others. Cincinnati's trade and shipping business on the Ohio River was booming, drawing numerous migrants from different parts of the country, including many free blacks, as well as Irish immigrants who worked on the state's canals and railroads. Areas of the city had been wrecked in the Cincinnati riots of 1829, when ethnic Irish attacked blacks, trying to push competitors out of the city. Beecher met a number of African Americans who had suffered in those attacks, and their experience contributed to her later writing about slavery. Riots took place again in 1836 and 1841, driven also by native-born anti-abolitionists.
It was in the literary club that she met Calvin Ellis Stowe, a widower who was a professor at the seminary. The two married on January 6, 1836. He was an ardent critic of slavery, and the Stowes supported the Underground Railroad, temporarily housing several fugitive slaves in their home. Most slaves continued north to secure freedom in Canada. The Stowes had seven children together, including twin daughters.
In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law, prohibiting assistance to fugitives and strengthening sanctions even in free states. At the time, Stowe had moved with her family to Brunswick, Maine, where her husband was now teaching at Bowdoin College. Their home near the campus is protected as a National Historic Landmark.
Stowe claimed to have a vision of a dying slave during a communion service at Brunswick's First Parish Church, which inspired her to write his story. However, what more likely allowed her to empathize with slaves was the loss of her eighteen-month-old son, Samuel Charles Stowe. She even stated the following, "Having experienced losing someone so close to me, I can sympathize with all the poor, powerless slaves at the unjust auctions. You will always be in my heart Samuel Charles Stowe." On March 9, 1850, Stowe wrote to Gamaliel Bailey, editor of the weekly anti-slavery journal The National Era, that she planned to write a story about the problem of slavery: "I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak... I hope every woman who can write will not be silent."
Shortly after in June, 1851, when she was 40, the first installment of her Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in serial form in the newspaper The National Era. She originally used the subtitle "The Man That Was A Thing", but it was soon changed to "Life Among the Lowly". Installments were published weekly from June 5, 1851, to April 1, 1852. For the newspaper serialization of her novel, Stowe was paid $400. Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in book form on March 20, 1852, by John P. Jewett with an initial print run of 5,000 copies. Each of its two volumes included three illustrations and a title-page designed by Hammatt Billings. In less than a year, the book sold an unprecedented 300,000 copies. By December, as sales began to wane, Jewett issued an inexpensive edition at 37½ cents each to stimulate sales.
According to Daniel R. Lincoln, the goal of the book was to educate northerners on the realistic horrors of the things that were happening in the south. The other purpose was to try to make people in the south feel more empathetic towards the people they were forcing into slavery.
The book's emotional portrayal of the effects of slavery on individuals captured the nation's attention. Stowe showed that slavery touched all of society, beyond the people directly involved as masters, traders and slaves. Her novel added to the debate about abolition and slavery, and aroused opposition in the South. In the South, Stowe was depicted as out of touch, arrogant and guilty of slander. Within a year, 300 babies in Boston alone were named Eva (one of the book's characters), and a play based on the book opened in New York in November. Southerners quickly responded with numerous works of what are now called anti-Tom novels, seeking to portray southern society and slavery in more positive terms. Many of these were bestsellers, although none matched the popularity of Stowe's work, which set publishing records.
After the start of the Civil War, Stowe traveled to the capital, Washington, D.C., where she met President Abraham Lincoln on November 25, 1862. Stowe's daughter, Hattie, reported, "It was a very droll time that we had at the White house I assure you... I will only say now that it was all very funny—and we were ready to explode with laughter all the while." What Lincoln said is a minor mystery. Her son later reported that Lincoln greeted her by saying, "so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." Her own accounts are vague, including the letter reporting the meeting to her husband: "I had a real funny interview with the President."
A year after the war, Stowe purchased property in Florida. In response to a newspaper article in 1873 she wrote, "I came to Florida the year after the war and held property in Duval County ever since. In all this time I have not received even an incivility from any native Floridian."
Stowe is controversial for her support of Elizabeth Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, whose father-in-law decades before was a leader in the Highland Clearances, the transformation of the remote Highlands of Scotland from a militia-based society to an agricultural one that supported far fewer people. The newly homeless moved to Canada, where very bitter accounts appeared. It was Stowe's assignment to refute them using evidence the Duchess provided, in Letter XVII Volume 1 of her travel memoir Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands. Stowe was vulnerable when she seemed to defend the cruelties in Scotland as eagerly as she attacked the cruelties in the American South.
In 1868, Stowe became one of the first editors of Hearth and Home magazine, one of several new publications appealing to women; she departed after a year. Stowe campaigned for the expansion of married women's rights, arguing in 1869 that:
[T]he position of a married woman ... is, in many respects, precisely similar to that of the negro slave. She can make no contract and hold no property; whatever she inherits or earns becomes at that moment the property of her husband.... Though he acquired a fortune through her, or though she earned a fortune through her talents, he is the sole master of it, and she cannot draw a penny....[I]n the English common law a married woman is nothing at all. She passes out of legal existence.
In the 1870s, Stowe's brother Henry Ward Beecher was accused of adultery, and became the subject of a national scandal. Unable to bear the public attacks on her brother, Stowe again fled to Florida but asked family members to send her newspaper reports. Through the affair, she remained loyal to her brother and believed he was innocent.
After her return to Connecticut, Mrs. Stowe was among the founders of the Hartford Art School, which later became part of the University of Hartford.
Following the death of her husband, Calvin Stowe, in 1886, Harriet started rapidly to decline in health. By 1888, the Washington Post reported that as a result of dementia the 77-year-old Stowe started writing Uncle Tom's Cabin over again. She imagined that she was engaged in the original composition, and for several hours every day she industriously used pen and paper, inscribing passages of the book almost exactly word for word. This was done unconsciously from memory, the authoress imagining that she composed the matter as she went along. To her diseased mind the story was brand new, and she frequently exhausted herself with labor which she regarded as freshly created.
Mark Twain, a neighbor of Stowe's in Hartford, recalled her last years in the following passage of his autobiography:
Her mind had decayed, and she was a pathetic figure. She wandered about all the day long in the care of a muscular Irish woman. Among the colonists of our neighborhood the doors always stood open in pleasant weather. Mrs. Stowe entered them at her own free will, and as she was always softly slippered and generally full of animal spirits, she was able to deal in surprises, and she liked to do it. She would slip up behind a person who was deep in dreams and musings and fetch a war whoop that would jump that person out of his clothes. And she had other moods. Sometimes we would hear gentle music in the drawing-room and would find her there at the piano singing ancient and melancholy songs with infinitely touching effect.
Harriet Beecher Stowe died on July 1, 1896, at age eighty-five in Hartford, Connecticut. She is buried in the historic cemetery at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, along with her husband and their son Henry Ellis.
Multiple landmarks are dedicated to the memory of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and are located in several states including Ohio, Florida, Maine and Connecticut. The locations of these landmarks represent various periods of her life such as her father's house where she grew up, and where she wrote her most famous work.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the former home of her father Lyman Beecher on the former campus of the Lane Seminary Her father was a preacher who was greatly affected by the pro-slavery Cincinnati Riots of 1836. Harriet Beecher Stowe lived here until her marriage. It is open to the public and operated as a historical and cultural site, focusing on Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Lane Seminary and the Underground Railroad. The site also presents African-American history.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Stowe and her family wintered in Mandarin, Florida, now a neighborhood of modern consolidated Jacksonville, on the St. Johns River. Stowe wrote Palmetto Leaves while living in Mandarin, arguably an eloquent piece of promotional literature directed at Florida's potential Northern investors at the time. The book was published in 1873 and describes Northeast Florida and its residents. In 1874, Stowe was honored by the governor of Florida as one of several northerners who had helped Florida's growth after the war. In addition to her writings inspiring tourists and settlers to the area, she helped establish a church and a school, and she helped promote oranges as a major state crop through her own orchards. The school she helped establish in 1870 was an integrated school in Mandarin for children and adults. This predated the national movement toward integration by more than a half century. The marker commemorating the Stowe family is located across the street from the former site of their cottage. It is on the property of the Community Club, at the site of a church where Stowe's husband once served as a minister. The Church of our Saviour is an Episcopal Church founded in 1880 by a group of people who had gathered for Bible readings with Professor Calvin E. Stowe and his famous wife. The house was constructed in 1883 which contained the Stowe Memorial stained glass window, created by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, Maine, is where Stowe lived when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her husband was teaching theology at nearby Bowdoin College, and she regularly invited students from the college and friends to read and discuss the chapters before publication. Future Civil War general, and later Governor, Joshua Chamberlain was then a student at the college and later described the setting. "On these occasions," Chamberlain noted, "a chosen circle of friends, mostly young, were favored with the freedom of her house, the rallying point being, however, the reading before publication, of the successive chapters of her Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the frank discussion of them." In 2001 Bowdoin College purchased the house, together with a newer attached building, and was able to raise the substantial funds necessary to restore the house. It is now open to the public.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford, Connecticut, is the house where Stowe lived for the last 23 years of her life. It was next door to the house of fellow author Mark Twain. In this 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) cottage-style house, there are many of Beecher Stowe's original items and items from the time period. In the research library, which is open to the public, there are numerous letters and documents from the Beecher family. The house is open to the public and offers house tours on the half-hour.
In 1833, during Stowe's time in Cincinnati, the city was afflicted with a serious cholera epidemic. To avoid illness, Stowe made a visit to Washington, Kentucky, a major community of the era just south of Maysville. She stayed with the Marshall Key family, one of whose daughters was a student at Lane Seminary. It is recorded that Mr. Key took her to see a slave auction, as they were frequently held in Maysville. Scholars believe she was strongly moved by the experience. The Marshall Key home still stands in Washington. Key was a prominent Kentuckian; his visitors also included Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
The Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site is part of the restored Dawn Settlement at Dresden, Ontario, which is 20 miles east of Algonac, Michigan. The community for freed slaves founded by the Rev. Josiah Henson and other abolitionists in the 1830s has been restored. There's also a museum. Henson and the Dawn Settlement provided Stowe with the inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin.
|Presentation by Joan Hedrick on Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life, October 17, 1996, C-SPAN|
A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin is a book by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was published to document the veracity of the depiction of slavery in Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). First published in 1853 by Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, the book also provides insights into Stowe's own views on slavery.Harriet Beecher Stowe House
Harriet Beecher Stowe House may refer to:
Harriet Beecher Stowe House (Hartford, Connecticut), listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
Harriet Beecher Stowe House (Brunswick, Maine), NRHP-listed
Harriet Beecher Stowe House (Cincinnati, Ohio), NRHP-listedHarriet Beecher Stowe House (Brunswick, Maine)
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is a historic home and National Historic Landmark at 63 Federal Street in Brunswick, Maine, notable as a short-term home of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Calvin Ellis Stowe. Earlier, it had been the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as a student. It is today owned by Bowdoin College. A space within the house, called Harriet's Writing Room, is open to the public.Harriet Beecher Stowe House (Cincinnati, Ohio)
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is a historic home in Ohio which was once the residence of influential antislavery author Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.Harriet Beecher Stowe House (Hartford, Connecticut)
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is a historic house museum and National Historic Landmark at 73 Forest Street in Hartford, Connecticut that was once the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Stowe lived in this house for the last 23 years of her life. It was her family's second home in Hartford. The 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) cottage-style house is located adjacent to the Mark Twain House and is open to the public. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013.Joan D. Hedrick
Joan Doran Hedrick (born May 1, 1944) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Jack London.Let Every Man Mind His Own Business
Let Every Man Mind His Own Business, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is a short story in the temperance fiction genre. It was published in 1839.Mandarin (Jacksonville)
Mandarin is a neighborhood located in the southernmost portion of Jacksonville, in Duval County, Florida, United States. It is located on the eastern banks of the St. Johns River, across from Orange Park. Mandarin was named after the mandarin orange in 1830 by Calvin Reed, a prominent resident of the area .
Once called "a tropical paradise" by author Harriet Beecher Stowe, the quaint area of Mandarin is marked by its history, ancient oak trees draped with Spanish moss, beautiful parks, marinas and more water views than any other area in Jacksonville. In the 19th century, Mandarin was a small farming village that shipped oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other fruits and vegetables to Jacksonville and points north on the steamships that traveled the St. Johns River. In 1864, the Union steamship, the Maple Leaf, hit a Confederate mine and sank just off Mandarin Point.
The majority of the land was planted with orange trees for many years, but a freeze in the early 1980s destroyed a lot of the crop. Orange farmers decided not to replant their destroyed trees; instead, they sold off former groveland to developers.
Just a short drive south of Jacksonville's city center, the community is bordered by Beauclerc to the north, Julington Creek to the south and St. John's River to the west.Mickey's Mellerdrammer
Mickey's Mellerdrammer is a 1933 American animated Pre-Code short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. The title is a corruption of "melodrama", thought to harken back to the earliest minstrel shows, as a film short based on Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and stars Mickey Mouse and his friends who stage their own production of the novel.
The cartoon shows Mickey Mouse and some of the other characters dressed in blackface with exaggerated, orange lips; bushy, white sidewhiskers made out of cotton; and his now trademark white gloves.Nook Farm (Connecticut)
Nook Farm is a historical neighborhood in the Asylum Hill section on the western edge of Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
In the early 1800s, the area was dominated by the Imlay farm, which occupied most of the land from present-day Imlay Street west to the north branch of the Park River, and from Farmington Avenue south to the Park River. John Hooker and his brother-in-law Francis Gillette purchased the pasture and woodland from William Imlay in 1853 for the purpose of developing the real estate. They built their own homes and sold parcels of land to relatives and friends to do likewise. As a result, an art colony took hold that included Hooker and his wife Isabella Beecher Hooker, the Gillettes, Charles Dudley Warner, Joseph Roswell Hawley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, the Rev. Nathaniel Judson Burton and his wife Rachel Pine Chase Burton, as well as other journalists, feminists, spiritualists, painters, writers, reformers and activists. The area became known as Nook Farm, taking its name from the bend‚ or "nook‚" in the Park River‚ which bordered the area on the west and south.Nook Farm "developed into a tight-knit community through a web of family and business connections. It was an oasis apart from the bustling city and a place that bubbled over with ideas about politics and reform during a time of great tumult in the nation." Mark Twain described the openness of the neighborhood, "Among the colonists of our neighborhood the doors always stood open in pleasant weather."The homes were designed by leading architects of the day, including Edward Tuckerman Potter, Francis Hatch Kimball and Richard Upjohn. Although many of them were demolished over the years, including eleven to make room for the Hartford Public High School, some still survive. Currently, the Mark Twain House, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, and the Katherine Day House are museums open to the public. The John and Isabella Hooker House is now an apartment building, as is the House at 36 Forest Street, built later in 1895.Southern Fried Rabbit
Southern Fried Rabbit is a Looney Tunes cartoon by Warner Bros. starring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam. Directed by Friz Freleng, the animated short was first released on May 2, 1953.
In it, Bugs Bunny attempts to shake off Yosemite Sam (here, cast as a Civil War-era Confederate colonel), who is preventing him from crossing the Mason–Dixon line.The Minister's Wooing
The Minister's Wooing is a historical novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, first published in 1859. Set in 18th-century New England, the novel explores New England history, highlights the issue of slavery, and critiques the Calvinist theology in which Stowe was raised. Due to similarities in setting, comparisons are often drawn between this work and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850). However, in contrast to Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter, The Minister's Wooing is a "sentimental romance"; its central plot revolves around courtship and marriage. Moreover, Stowe's exploration of the regional history of New England deals primarily with the domestic sphere, the New England response to slavery, and the psychological impact of the Calvinist doctrines of predestination and disinterested benevolence.With its intense focus upon the history, customs, and mannerisms of New England, The Minister's Wooing is one sense an example of the local color writing that proliferated in late 19th century. However, by highlighting the issue of slavery, this time in the north, The Minister's Wooing also represents a continuation of Stowe's earlier anti-slavery novels. Finally, the work serves as a critique of Calvinism, written from the perspective of an individual deeply familiar with the theological system. Stowe's father was the well-known Calvinist minister Lyman Beecher, and Stowe based many aspects of the novel upon events in the lives of herself and her older sister Catharine's life. Throughout the novel, Stowe portrays the reaction of different personality types to the pressures of Calvinist principles, illustrating in this manner what she perceives as Calvinism's strengths and weaknesses. In particular, responding to the untimely death of her sister's fiancé and the death of two of her own children, Stowe addresses the issue of predestination, the idea that individuals were either saved or damned, and only the elect would go to heaven.Uncle Tom's Bungalow
Uncle Tom's Bungalow is an American Merrie Melodies animated cartoon directed by Tex Avery, and released to theatres on June 5, 1937 by Warner Bros. The short cartoon is a parody of the 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and of the "plantation melodrama" genre of the 1930s. It contains many stereotypical portrayals of black characters. The cartoon plays off Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel in that it portrays Uncle Tom as an old man, and wooden shacks and cotton fields pervade the scenery. Director Tex Avery adds his own sense of humor and "trickster" animation, giving the classic theme a modern, humorous twist.In 1968 the cartoon became a part of the Censored Eleven, a group of cartoons withheld from syndication by the television arm of United Artists due to the controversy surrounding their racially stereotypical content. Brief segments did, however, appear in Turner Entertainment's 1989 home video release, Cartoons For Big Kids, hosted by Leonard Maltin.Uncle Tom's Cabaña
Uncle Tom's Cabaña is a 1947 American animated short film directed by Tex Avery. The short is a parody of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and is Avery's second parody of the novel, the first being Uncle Tom's Bungalow in 1937 while at Warner Bros. Cartoons.Uncle Tom's Cabin (1918 film)
Uncle Tom's Cabin was a 1918 American silent drama film directed by J. Searle Dawley, produced by Famous Players-Lasky Corporation and distributed by Paramount Pictures under the Famous Players-Lasky name. The film is based on Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and George Aiken's eponymous play.Uncle Tom's Cabin starred Marguerite Clark, who portrayed both Topsy and Little Eva. It is now considered to be a lost film.Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927 film)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927) is a silent film directed by Harry A. Pollard and released by Universal Pictures. The film is based on the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin written by Harriett Beecher Stowe and was the last silent film version. A copy is preserved at the Library of Congress.In this version of the film, all of the major slave roles, with the exception of Uncle Tom himself, were portrayed by white actors. Actress Mona Ray played the slave Topsy in blackface, while the slaves Eliza, George, Cassie and Harry were all presented as having very light skin coloring because of mixed-race heritage. This film was released on DVD in 1999 by Kino.Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965 film)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (German: Onkel Toms Hütte) is a 1965 German film directed by Géza von Radványi. The film was entered into the 4th Moscow International Film Festival.Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987 film)
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a 1987 American made-for-television drama film directed by Stan Lathan and starring Avery Brooks, Bruce Dern, Phylicia Rashad, and Edward Woodward. It is based on the novel of the same name by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Inductees to the National Women's Hall of Fame
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin