Profile of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Name at birth: Harriet Elizabeth Beecher
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American reformer and writer whose novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) is a classic of 19th century anti-slavery literature. From an activist and influential New England family that included her father Lyman Beecher (1775-1863), sister Catharine Beecher (1800-1878) and brother Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), Harriet moved to Cincinnati in 1833 and married Calvin Ellis Stowe in 1836. While living in Cincinnati, she became active in the anti-slavery movement and, while raising seven children, began writing professionally. Uncle Tom's Cabin, first serialized in 1851, appeared in book form in 1852 and became a bestseller in the United States and England. The story examined the "life among the lowly" and helped frame the slavery issue as a moral one. Stowe wrote more than two dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction, including A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1853), a fact-filled companion to her famous novel. Her other works include Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856), Pearl of Orr's Island (1862) and Pink and White Tyranny (1871).
Beecher Stowe caused a controversy in 1869 with a magazine article, “The True Story of Lady Byron’s Wife,” a piece she wrote after making the acquaintance of the great poet’s widow, in which she accused Lord Byron of committing incest with his sister, Augusta… In 1896 her works were published in 16 volumes as The Writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
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