Harriet Beecher Stowe
Born: 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
Died: 1896 in Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1811, Harriet was the seventh of Lyman
Beecher's nine children by his first wife, Roxana. Beecher, a famous evangelical
Calvinist minister, was a demanding father who stressed strict adherence
to Puritan values in the upbringing of his children. They moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1824 Harriet began to attend the Hartford Female Academy, a school founded by her older sister Catharine, a pioneer in women's education. She gradually took on teaching responsibilities, working as a full-time instructor at the school from 1829 to 1832. She was a reformist and did many things that women didn?t normally do especially if they were black.
While in Ohio that is when she began to write Uncle Tom?s Cabin. Uncle Tom?s Cabin Is the novel that made her famous. Cincinnati was just across the river from the slave trade, and she observed firsthand several incidents which animated her to write her famous anti-slavery novel.
Scenes she observed on the Ohio River, including seeing a husband and wife being sold apart, as well as newspaper and magazine accounts and interviews, contributed material to the emerging plot. The family shared her abolitionist sentiment and was active in hiding runaway slaves. This is where the inspiration of Uncle Tom?s Cabin came from.
This book attracted the attention of Boston publisher, J. P. Jewett, who published the work in March of 1852. Uncle Tom's Cabin immediately broke all sales records of the day: selling half-a-million copies by 1857. This book also had to compete with Thomas Paine?s Pamphlet Common Sense.
The success of Uncle Tom's Cabin stemmed largely from its status as an icon of the abolitionist movement. After all, the story presented facts...