The seventh child of the famous
After finishing her education at her sister's school in
The 1850 Fugitive
Slave Act, a law enabling the capture and re-enslavement of escaped slaves,
provoked cries of protest from abolitionists. Condemning slavery as a moral
and spiritual wrong, Harriet Beecher Stowe's father and brothers preached
against the act from their pulpits, and Harriet endeavored to write a parable
which, like those in the Bible, would inspire its readers to turn from sin.
In 1851 to 1852 she published Uncle Tom's Cabin in installments in the
abolitionist newspaper the National Era; later in 1852 the story
appeared as a complete volume. An instant bestseller, Uncle Tom's Cabin told of the faithful slave
Tom whose cruel master beats him to death and of George and Eliza Harris who
flee their bondage in
Harriet Beecher Stowe became an immediate celebrity in the wake of Uncle Tom's publication, inspiring the awe of abolitionists and the ire of those who defended the South's "peculiar institution." Translated into dozens of languages and adapted for performance on the stage, her novel had an immeasurable effect on the consciences of her audience and served as a focal point for the intensifying debate over slavery. Upon meeting the book's author, President Lincoln commented, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."
In the following years she continued to write, publishing
a rejoinder to claims that Uncle Tom exaggerated the plight of slaves, a second antislavery novel featuring a more
rebellious hero than "Tom," religious essays and poems, and
biographies. She died in
Other portraits appears in:
The Photographic Art-Journal (August, 1853), photograph pasted to preliminary leaf, as issued.
Harriet B. Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or, Life among the Lowly (
Julia Griffiths, ed., Autographs for Freedom (Auburn, N.Y., 1854), plate following p. 274.
Evert A. and George L. Duyckinck, eds., Cyclopaedia of American Literature (1855), vol. 2, p. 605.
The Ladies’ Repository (March, 1858), plate preceding p. 179.