Uncle Tom's Cabin


By Harriet Beecher Stowe

cover image of Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14th 1811. Over the course of her Life Harriet wrote more than twenty books including travel memoirs and collections of letters and articles. Her stand out work is undoubtedly 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' about the life of African Americans under slavery. It reached millions as both a book and a play and was influential in setting both the tone and the agenda for anti-slavery forces in the North and for unyielding anger in the South. When she was invited to the White House by Lincoln he is rumoured to have said "so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." In the 1870s, Stowe's brother, Henry Ward, also an abolitionist, was accused of adultery and a national scandal ensured. Harriet fled to Florida unable to bear the attacks on her brother, who she believed innocent. Harriet was among the founders of the Hartford Art School, which later became part of the University of Hartford. She was also influential in the call for women to have a better standing in society and considered the cause as just as necessary as the abolition of slavery. With the death of her husband Calvin Stowe in 1886, after a half century together, Harriet's own health started to decline rapidly. By 1888 it was reported in The Washington Post that due to dementia she had 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 inscribed long passages of the book, almost word for word, 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." 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.

Uncle Tom's Cabin