Happy birthday Harriet Beecher Stowe!

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Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811–July 1, 1896) was an American author and activist. She is most remembered for writing Uncle Tom's Cabin, the abolitionist novel published through National Era. She was also one of the earliest women's rights activists. She wrote more than 20 books in addition to other articles and letters.

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Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut to Lyman and Roxana Beecher.

Harriet was alternative from the beginning—she enrolled in a school run by her sister, Catherine, that was otherwise only attended by boys. At the age of 21, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where her father had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary. All of her seven brothers were ministers.

The Cincinnati Riots of 1836 inspired then-Beecher to take up the cause of abolitionism. She joined the Semi-Colon Club, a literary salon and social club at which she met Calvin Ellis Stowe. Stowe was also an ardent abolitionist, and the two married. They settled and contributed to the Underground Railroad, temporarily housing fugitive slaves until they found their way to freedom. (Image source)

 

After the family moved to Maine, Harriet eventually wrote to the editor of National Era, a weekly antislavery journal about her intentions to chronicle the problems associated with slavery. In June 1851, when she was 40, the first installment of what was to become Uncle Tom's Cabin, published weekly until April 1, 1852. The book was originally subtitled, "The Man That Was A Thing," but eventually changed it to "Life Among the Lowly."

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Portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe by Francis Holl, c. 1855

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The bust of Harriet Beecher Stowe from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, by Brenda Putnam

The book became a beacon of hope for slaves, as it roused abolitionist sentiment in the South and fueled the debate in the North.

After the onset of the Civil War, Stowe traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Abraham Lincoln. There are no records of what was said in the interview, except for the one vague comment found in a letter she wrote to her husband: "I had a real funny interview with the President."

Stowe was one of the founding members of the Hartford Art School, which later became the University of Hartford.

Some of Stowe's other works include The Chimney Corner (1866), The American Woman's Home (1869) Old Town Folks (1869), Palmetto Leaves (1873), and The Poor Life (1890).

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Saturday, 14 June 2014
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