Stowe, Harriet Beecher



Harriet Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14, 1811. Her father was a prominent minister, and she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1832. After four years, she married Calvin Stowe, with whom she eventually had seven children. Her husband became a professor at Bowdoin College in Maine, and the family moved there. In 1852, Mrs. Stowe's book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," was published. The novel's vivid characters and sympathetic portrayals of African Americans, as well as its revelations about the cruelty of slavery, convinced many Americans that slavery was morally wrong. Stowe had little personal experience with slavery, and took most of her material from abolitionist tracts. While she aimed her attack at the institution of slavery, not at the South or Southerners, many Americans interpreted the book as an attack on the "Southern way of life." "Uncle Tom's Cabin" became one of the century's bestsellers, and fueled the sectional controversy. In an effort to correct the many misinterpretations of the book, Stowe published "A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin" in 1853, but few paid attention. President Lincoln is said to have exclaimed, "So this is the little lady who made this big war." Although it is unlikely that he actually said this, it is clear that Stowe made a major impact on the nation. Stowe died on July 1, 1896, in Hartfod, Connecticut.