Know Your History – 14th June – Harriet Beecher Stowe born

know your history - writing

On this day… 14th June, 1811 – Harriet Beecher Stowe born

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. She came from a famous religious family and is best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). It depicts the harsh life for African Americans under slavery. It reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and Great Britain. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, harriet beecher stowewhile provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential for both her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.

About the Writing

Stowe’s passion for writing allowed her to publicly express her thoughts and beliefs in a time when a woman could not speak publicly, much less vote or hold office and also to contribute financially to the Stowe family household income.

“If you see my name coming out everywhere – you may be sure of one thing, that I do it for the pay”

In 1851, The National Era’s publisher Gamaliel Bailey contracted with Stowe for a story that would “paint a word picture of slavery” and that would run in instalments. Stowe expected Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life Among the Lowly to be three or four instalments. She wrote more than 40. She began publishing multiple works per year including the Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which documented the case histories on which she had based her novel.

A comprehensive bibliography for Harriet Beecher Stowe can be found at the University of Pennsylvania web site.

Did You Know?..

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.


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