HARRIET BEACHER STOWE (from http://americancivilwar.com)

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Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896.

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born on June 14, 1811 at Litchfield, Connecticut. The first twelve years of her life were spent in the intellectual atmosphere of Litchfield, which was a famous resort of ministers, judges, lawyers and professional men of superior attainments.When about twelve, she went to Hartford, where her sister Catherine had opened a school. While there she was known as an absent-minded and moody young lady, odd in her manner and habits, but a fine scholar, excelling especially in the writing of compositions. In 1832, her father assumed the presidency of Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, she followed her family. On the fifth of January, 1836, she married Professor Calvin E. Stowe, a man of learning and distinction. In Cincinnati, she came into contact with fugitive slaves. f

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Today the novel is often labeled condescending, but its characters still have the power to move our hearts. Though �Uncle Tom� has become a synonym for a fawning black yes-man, Stowe’s Tom is actually American literature’s first black hero
Stowe was catapulted to international fame with the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1851. . Following publication of the book, she became a celebrity, speaking against slavery both in America and Europe. She wrote A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853) extensively documenting the realities on which the book was based, to refute critics who tried to argue that it was inauthentic; and published a second anti-slavery novel, Dredin1856.The following excerpt is taken from the last chapter of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which very much resembles a sermon. She urges white Northerners to welcome escaped slaves and treat them with respect:

On the shores of our free states are emerging the poor, shattered, broken remnants of families,–men and women, escaped, by miraculous providences, from the surges of slavery,–feeble in knowledge, and, in many cases, infirm in moral constitution, from a system which confounds and confuses every principle of Christianity and morality. They come to seek a refuge among you; they come to seek education, knowledge, Christianity. What do you owe to these poor, unfortunates, O Christians? Does not every American Christian owe to the African race some effort at reparation for the wrongs that the American nation has brought upon them? Shall the doors of churches and school-houses be shut down upon them? Shall states arise and shake them out? Shall the Church of Christ hear in silence the taunt that is thrown at them, and shrink away from the helpless hand that they stretch out, and shrink away from the courage the cruelty that would chase them from our borders? If it must be so, it will be a mournful spectacle. If it must be so, the country will have reason to tremble, when it remembers that fate of nations is in the hand of the One who is very pitiful, and of tender compassion.

Thereafter, Stowe became one of America’s best-paid and most famous writers. Born into a distinguished New England family, Stowe began her career writing stories for a Cincinnati literary club. Stowe was fortunate to have begun her career before writing had become sufficiently remunerative in the United States to allow men to dominate the profession. First published in weekly installments from June 5, 1851 to April 1, 1852 in the journal National Era, Stowe’s novel created such a controversy that when she was introduced to President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, he is said to have greeted her with the words: “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!

Photograph courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society
This house was once the residence of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), the influential antislavery author who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In 1832, Harriet Beecher moved from Litchfield, Connecticut, to Cincinnati with her sister and father, a Congregationalist minister who accepted an offer to teach at the Lane Seminary. Harriet and her sister lived with their father in this house, which was provided by the Seminary, and soon after settling in established the Western Female Institute. In 1833, while teaching at the Western Female Institute, the two sisters published Geography for Children. The following year Harriet Beecher won a prize for “New England Sketch,” published in the Western Monthly Magazine. Marrying Calvin Ellis Stowe, a fellow teacher at the Western Female Institute, in 1835, Harriet Beecher Stowe moved out of her father’s house and into a nearby home in the Walnut Hills area. In the following years, however, Stowe would be a frequent visitor to this house where she and her family would meet with like-minded antislavery activists.

Harriet – Lyman – Henry
Sometime after 1860, Lyman Beecher left Boston to live in Brooklyn with his son, Henry Ward Beecher, popular pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church. Though the younger Beecher’s ministry of love and redemption contrasted strongly with his father’s strict Calvinist philosophy, both he and his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, carried on their father’s opposition to slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, rendered her tragic subject in a style that combined heartfelt conviction with endless documentary detail, and the book made her the best-known author of her generation. This image was made around 1861, when Henry Ward Beecher, as editor of the national magazine The Independent, began to call for ever more radical action from Lincoln to end slavery and bring the war to a close. Brady’s photograph of two famous siblings and their renowned father record a distinguished American family and three important intellectual leaders.

Harriet Beecher Stowe : Three Novels : Uncle Tom’s Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly; The Minister’s Wooing; Oldtown Folks

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is probably the most influential work of fiction in American history. This Christian epic turned millions of Americans against slavery, bringing the “peculiar institution” immeasurably closer to its destruction. In The Minister’s Wooing and Oldtown Folks, Stowe examines the interplay of religion, domesticity, and women’s roles and choices in the shaping of American culture.Kindle Available

The American Woman’s Home by Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe

Originally published in 1869, was one of the late nineteenth century’s most important handbooks of domestic advice. This book represents their attempt to direct women’s acquisition and use of a dizzying variety of new household consumer goods available in the post-Civil War economic boom

American Civil War Women
Women Soldiers
Womens Subject Civil War Titles
Civil War Exhibits
Civil War Timeline
State Battle Maps
Documents of the War
Civil War Cooking
Kids Zone Causes of the War
Young Reader Civil War Books
Civil War Store

Sanctified Trial: The Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain, a Confederate Woman in East Tennessee

The Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain
Kindle Available

Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life:
A Biography

Travel with Tubman along the treacherous route of the Underground Railroad. Hear of her friendships with Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and other abolitionists.
Kindle Available
Rose O'Neale Greenhow Civil War Spy
Rose O’Neale Greenhow, Civil War Spy

Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself

Loving Mr. Lincoln: The Personal Diaries of Mary Todd Lincoln

Chronicles life, love, and daily struggles with Abraham in their 26 years together. In frank, haunting journal entries, Mary describes the pain she felt when Abraham left her at the altar, when her sons died, and when Abraham’s political career seemed to be at an end
Kindle Available

The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865

Eliza Andrews’ diary is more cogent than any novel about the Civil War. General Sherman laid a track, and ELiza had to follow his footsteps through Georgia. Her insights into war and the havoc it wrought in the South are accompanied by her own editorial comments forty-four years later
Kindle Available

When Will This Cruel War Be Over?

A Confederate girl in Virginia, in 1864, Emma Simpson writes about the hardships of growing up during a turbulent time

A Girl’s Life in Virginia Before the War

First published in 1895. An engrossing eyewitness account of antebellum plantation life as it really was

Record of the Actual Experiences of the Wife of a Confederate Officer

The author tells of her many travels across the war-torn South, capture behind enemy lines, encounter with Belle Boyd, friendship with General J. E. B. Stuart, and the devastation suffered by the citizens of Richmond in the last days of the Confederacy.

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman

Harriet escaped North, by the secret route called the Underground Railroad. Harriet didn’t forget her people. Again and again she risked her life to lead them on the same secret, dangerous journey.
Kindle Available

The Glory Cloak: A Novel of Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton

From childhood, Susan Gray and her cousin Louisa May Alcott have shared a safe, insular world of outdoor adventures and grand amateur theater — a world that begins to evaporate with the outbreak of the Civil War. Frustrated with sewing uniforms and wrapping bandages, the two women journey to Washington, D.C.’s Union Hospital to volunteer as nurses.

Clara Barton Founder of the American Red Cross

Young Clara Barton is shy and lonely in her early days at boarding school. She is snubbed by the other girls because she doesn’t know how to talk to them. But when she gets an opportunity to assist the local doctor, her shyness disappears, and Clara begins to discover her true calling as a nurse.

Grace’s Letter to Lincoln

Many important details of the time period help to make the reader understand what life was like then. It also includes photos of the actual letters written between Grace and Mr. Lincoln

Clara Barton
Spirit of the American Red Cross

Ready To Read – Level Three
Clara Barton was very shy and sensitive, and not always sure of herself. But her fighting spirit and desire to help others drove her to become one of the world’s most famous humanitarians. Learn all about the life of the woman who formed the American Red Cross.

Day Of Tears

Through flashbacks and flash-forwards, and shifting first-person points of view, readers will travel with Emma and others through time and place, and come to understand that every decision has its consequences, and final judgment is passed down not by man, but by his maker.
Kindle Available
The Civil War
The Civil War

Introduces young readers to the harrowing true story of the American Civil War and its immediate aftermath. A surprisingly detailed battle-by-battle account of America’s deadliest conflict ensues, culminating in the restoration of the Union followed by the tragic assassination of President Lincoln
Kindle Available

A Yankee Girl at Fort Sumter

Tale of a girl and her family from Boston living in Charleston, SC during the months leading up to the beginning of the Civil War by the attack on Fort Sumter. The reader senses the inhumanity of slavery through Sylvia’s experiences.

Turn Homeward, Hannalee

During the closing days of the Civil War, plucky 12-year-old Hannalee Reed, sent north to work in a Yankee mill, struggles to return to the family she left behind in war-torn Georgia. “A fast-moving novel based upon an actual historical incident with a spunky heroine and fine historical detail.”–School Library Journal.

My Brothers Keeper

Virginia Dickens is angry. Her father and brother Jed have left her behind while they go off to Uncle Jack’s farm to help him hide his horses from Confederate raiders. It’s the summer of 1863 and Pa and Jed believe 9-year-old Virginia will be out of harm’s way in the sleepy little town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina 1865

Not only is 12-year-old Patsy a slave, but she’s also one of the least important slaves, since she stutters and walks with a limp. So when the war ends and she’s given her freedom, Patsy is naturally curious and afraid of what her future will hold.

Numbering The Bones

The Civil War is at an end, but for thirteen-year-old Eulinda, it is no time to rejoice. Her younger brother Zeke was sold away, her older brother Neddy joined the Northern war effort,. With the help of Clara Barton, the eventual founder of the Red Cross, Eulinda must find a way to let go of the skeletons from her past.


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Harriet Beecher Stowe: Scandals & Death

Though Uncle Tom’s Cabin is far and away the best known of Beecher Stowe’s books, she kept writing for decades after Cabin shook the world, publishing dozens of other books and articles. Because of the royalty arrangements, Beecher Stowe never grew wealthy from the outrageous popularity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She continued writing to support her family and to express her ideals. In 1856, she published the novel Dred, A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp, which was also about slavery. In 1859, she wrote The Minister’s Wooing, a satiric take on the intense Calvinistic faith she had grown up with (Beecher Stowe, like most of her siblings, adopted a more moderate form of Christianity as an adult). The novel was also a kind of outlet for her personal grief. In 1857, her son Henry drowned while swimming in the Connecticut River. The Dartmouth College student was only nineteen.

Beecher Stowe’s life wasn’t all piety, books, and reform. She found herself at the center of two notable scandals. Beecher Stowe had befriended Annabella Milbanke, the wife of England’s Lord Byron. Lord and Lady Byron had separated, and in 1869 Beecher Stowe published a long article in The Atlantic magazine alleging that Lord Byron was having an affair with his half-sister. The salacious story would have been more appropriate in Us Weekly than in a respectable nineteenth-century magazine, and disgusted Atlantic readers cancelled their subscriptions by the thousands. The gossipy story tarnished Beecher Stowe’s reputation as a beacon of moral authority.

The second scandal involved Beecher Stowe less directly, but was more painful. Her brother Henry Ward Beecher had become perhaps the most famous clergyman in America. In 1870, a woman named Elizabeth Tilton confessed to her husband that she had had an affair with Beecher. As Ted Haggard could tell you, the news of a famous preacher involved in a salacious sex scandal – then as now – spread like wildfire among the public. Beecher was tried for the crime of adultery in 1875; he was acquitted but his reputation still bore the stains of scandal. The sordid affair divided the entire Beecher family.

During the same year in which the charges against her brother came out, Beecher Stowe’s son Frederick, an alcoholic Civil War veteran, headed out to California and was never heard from again. Most likely, he died soon after reaching the West Coast. The same year that Frederick disappeared, Calvin and Harriet Beecher Stowe were forced to sell Oakholm, their beloved custom-built home in Hartford, Connecticut, because they could no longer afford to keep it up. In 1873, they settled into a smaller home on Hartford’s Forest Street, across the road from the family of Samuel Clemens – a writer better known by his pen name, Mark Twain.

Harriet Beecher Stowe lived to be an old lady, which – sadly enough – meant that most of the people she loved passed away before her. In 1878, her elder sister Catharine died. In 1886, she lost her husband. A year later, Henry Ward Beecher died of a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1890, her daughter Georgiana May died due to complications from morphine addiction. Her childrens’ struggles with substance abuse made Beecher Stowe far more sympathetic to the disease of addiction than most people of her time. She was one of the first people to write about addiction as a physical disease rather than a moral failing.

Harriet Beecher Stowe finally died in her sleep at her home in Hartford on 1 July 1896. She was 85 years old. At her funeral, her coffin was decorated with a wreath purchased by members of the African-American community in Boston that read “The Children of Uncle Tom.”9 Harriet Beecher Stowe didn’t ever set out to become famous, or to write a best-selling book, or even to change American history. She probably would have just described herself as a Christian wife and mother trying to live by the rules of a merciful God who wanted a just and peaceful world. As one writer said of the famous Beecher clan, “They knew what [God] wanted and did their honest best to see that He got it.”10


Harriet Beecher Stowe

Associated Press

By Susan Belasco


When Harriet Beecher Stowe died in 1896 at the age of 85, an obituary published on July 2 in The New York Times declared that Stowe’s death was “one of the closing leaves in an era of our century.” Remembered primarily for her blockbuster novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin’’ (1852) and its role as one of the causes of the Civil War, Stowe was among our first celebrity authors and one of the most famous people of 19th-century America. She was the author of more than two dozen books, including novels, works for children, short story collections, books of essays, a book of poetry and a travel narrative, as well as a prolific contributor to both newspapers and magazines.

Born in Litchfield, Conn., in 1811 to Roxana Foote Beecher, the well-educated and artistic granddaughter of a Revolutionary War general, and Lyman Beecher, an evangelical Presbyterian minister with a strong interest in Puritan theology, Stowe was raised in a household in which religion, reading and writing were considered a vital part of childhood. At the age of 9, she won a school prize for an essay. Years after Stowe was an established writer with an international reputation, she recalled that her father’s pleasure on that day was the proudest moment of her life.

After Lyman Beecher moved to Cincinnati in 1832 to take a position as the head of a theological seminary, both Stowe and her sister Catharine joined him with plans to start a school. There Stowe published her first book, “Primary Geography for Children.” She also became involved in the Semicolon Club, a literary society in which members shared their writing. A story that Stowe first presented to the club won a prize in a local contest and was later published in The Western Monthly Magazine. She continued to sharpen her skills as a writer, publishing a second book, “The Mayflower,” a collection of stories and sketches, and frequently contributing to magazines.

Becoming an Activist

In 1836, she married Calvin Stowe, a teacher at her father’s seminary, and for the next several years, Stowe was busy with her growing family. After the Stowes moved to Brunswick, Me., in 1850, however, Stowe began to consider writing about slavery. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 that made all citizens responsible for upholding the institution of slavery turned her into an activist. With the encouragement of her siblings, she published “The Freeman’s Dream,” a parable in which a farmer fails to help a runaway slave and is condemned by God at judgment day.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

That sketch paved the way for the first installments of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” envisioned by Stowe as a three- or four-part story for The National Era, an abolitionist newspaper. The story, which began running on June 5, 1851, was so popular that readers wrote to the newspaper begging for more, and the circulation of The Era doubled. When “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published as a novel in the spring of 1852, it instantly became a bestseller and was also quickly adapted for the stage. Performances of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” toured the Northeast, and Uncle Tom, Eliza, Little Eva, and Topsy became characters everyone knew. Stowe found herself an international celebrity—but not a rich one. Little thinking that her book would be so successful, Stowe had refused a contract with her publisher that involved some risk and instead had signed a standard contract that gave her just 10 percent of the sales of the book.

International Recognition

Now regarded as a major player in the abolition movement, Stowe accepted an invitation from antislavery societies to make appearances in Great Britain and to accept a formal antislavery petition signed by more than 500,000 British women. Eager to counter criticism from southern Americans that she knew little of the slavery system, Stowe published “A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” a collection of documentary sources about slavery, just before she sailed for England in 1853. She was enthusiastically received wherever she travelled and met a number of famous British writers, including Charles Dickens. She later published a book about her travels, “Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands.”

In 1856, Stowe published another book about slavery, “Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp,” and undertook a second journey to Europe where she met Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Lady Byron, the widow of the famous poet. Although she participated in antislavery meetings, she was also eager to establish a British copyright for her new book. In the absence of international copyright laws, she had earned nothing from the huge sales of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” abroad. Now savvy about business matters, Stowe was determined to reap the financial rewards that had eluded her with the publication of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

By the late 1850s, Stowe was firmly established as a major American writer. She was writing regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and she turned increasingly to domestic themes and stories, often drawing on childhood memories. While she continued to help with the antislavery cause, on the eve of the Civil War, she published “The Minister’s Wooing,” a historical novel set in Puritan New England. During the war, she met with President Abraham Lincoln, encouraging him to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. According to family accounts, Lincoln greeted Stowe by saying that she was the “little lady who started the big war,” but no historical record confirms this conversation.

After the War

In the aftermath of the war, Stowe turned resolutely to New England society and history for her subject matter, publishing novels, collections of stories, poems, as well as “The American Woman’s Home,” a guide to middle-class domestic life, co-written with her sister Catharine. But her career underwent an abrupt change after a book about her friend, “Lady Byron Vindicated” (1870), shocked British and American audiences with her frankness about Byron’s incestuous relationship with his half-sister. Even worse, her famous brother, the minister Henry Ward Beecher, had a scandalous affair with one of the members of his congregation. In the aftermath, Stowe mostly retreated from public life and lived at her homes in the Nook Farm area of Hartford, Conn., and in Mandarin, Fla. She was honored by her publisher Houghton, Mifflin and Company with a large birthday party in 1882, in which over 200 guests attended, including many major living writers of the 19th century, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Greenleaf Whittier. Stowe died on July 1, 1896, surrounded by her surviving family members.


Henry Ward Beecher

 Henry Ward Beecher
Photo courtesy of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Henry Ward Beecher was one of America’s best-known clergymen in the late 19th century and a popular speaker on the Lyceum lecture circuit. He was one of 11 surviving adult children of the famous Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher. Henry Ward Beecher assumed the pastorate of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, New York, in 1848 and was an outspoken abolitionist. He once advocated sending Sharp’s rifles to John Brown in boxes marked as bibles. The story of “Beecher’s bibles” became well known after Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry.

Beecher found his religious inspiration in a popular version of New England Transcendentalism and from it developed what he called “A Gospel of Love.” After the Civil War, he was elected president of the American Woman’s Suffrage organization and advocated a conservative approach to women’s suffrage, which brought him into conflict with his parishioner and friend Theodore Tilton, newly elected president of the National Woman’s Suffrage organization.

The conflicting issues between the organizations — women’s legal rights, divorce and “free love” spilled over into the Beecher-Tilton Scandal. On October 10, 1868, Theodore Tilton alleged that the 61-year-old Beecher had had a “free love,” adulterous affair with Tilton’s wife, Elizabeth. The ensuing trial split the Beecher sisters. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Beecher Perkins, and Catharine Beecher supported Henry’s denial of the affair. Isabella Beecher Hooker supported Victoria Woodhull, a leader of the spiritualist movement and an advocate of free love, who originally publicized the affair in her newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly.

Although Beecher’s congregation remained loyal to him until his death, his public reputation was tarnished. He approached Mark Twain and the Charles Webster Company about publishing his biography. On March 8, 1887, Beecher died of a stroke before he was able to begin work on the book.