Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896

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Woman Category: Literature & PoetryWoman Tags: Abolitionist and Writing

  • HerStory
    Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896

    An author and an abolitionist, best known for her anti-slavery novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’.

    Born as Harriet Elisabeth Beecher in Litchfield, Connecticut, to a family of abolitionists and social reformers, who supported the Underground Railroad and housed fugitive slaves in their home.
    After studying as a child at a girls’ school run by her older sister, at the age of 21, when she joined her father in Cincinnati, she taught at a school founded by her sister.

    In Ohio, she joined a literary salon and social club, met her husband, and started to find her voice as an author, as she wrote sketches and stories to the local journals and the schools’ textbooks.
    When she was 35 years old, Stowe published her first book, ‘The Mayflower; or, Sketches of Scenes and Characters Among the Descendants of the Pilgrims’.

    The family moved to Maine in 1850, the same year the Congress passed a law allowing hunting fugitive slaves and return them to their owners. A year later, Stowe’s 18-month-old son died. The two events led her to write about the injustice of slavery.
    At first, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ published in the newspaper in a serial form, and within a year it was released as a book and became a best seller.
    Her portrayal of slavery and its effects on individuals captured people’s attention, and through Stowe’s writing, they realized that slaves had families, hopes, and dreams like every human being.

    The book sparked outrage in the south but was embraced by the abolitionists in the north, and according to some, it even helped Abraham Lincoln to win the 1860 elections.
    Stowe continued to write and promote social and political causes, and during her lifetime, Stowe published more than 30 books, including novels, memoirs, and collections of letters and articles.

    “It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done”

    “It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done”



    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • It’s reported that at a visit to the White House, Abraham Lincoln told her that she is the little woman who wrote the book that started this big war.
    • She was included in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
    • She was honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on July 1st.
    • Harris–Stowe State University in St. Louis is named after her and William Torrey Harris.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Her biography
    * Books she wrote

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    Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896

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  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896

    Woman Tags: Abolitionist, Writing
     

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    Who is Harriet Beecher Stowe?

    AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's "The Abolitionists" premieres on PBS January 8, 2013 at 9/8c. Learn more: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/

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  • Photo credit - Library of Congress.


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