Professor Matt Cardin
18 March 2015
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was the seventh child (fourth daughter) born into the Beecher family. Her father was Lyman Beecher and her mother was Roxana Foote. Her father was a Calvinist minister and her mother died after she had two more children. Harriet was only four years old. Her father remarried quickly and had more children. There were thirteen children altogether. Harriet was particularly close to two of her brothers, one of her sisters, and one of her half-sisters.
From 1819 to 1824 Harriet studied at Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy. This school was one of the earliest schools in the nation to offer training to women. Harriet’s sister Catherine, joined with one of their other sisters and founded a girl’s academy in 1823. She studied there in 1824 and started teaching there in 1827.
The Beecher family moved to Cincinnati in 1832 and Harriet Beecher started writing short stories in 1834. She got married to Calvin Stowe and had Harkins 2
twin girls in 1836. They had a son in 1838. By this time she was writing her stories for money. The Stowe’s other son died of cholera in 1849 before he was even a year old. They moved to New England in 1850. Her son’s death inspired her to become an abolitionist. It made her have great empathy for anyone that could not defend for themselves including the slaves.
Harriet Beecher Stowe then started writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the weekly antislavery journal, The National Era. One of the greatest influences for Uncle Tom’s Cabin was her outrage over the passage of fugitive slave act in 1850. Uncle Tom’s Cabin first appeared in book form in 1852. It sold three thousand copies the day it was published and more than three hundred thousand before the year ended. Sometime between 1852 and 1860 the book was reprinted in twenty-two languages. Her book helped push abolitionism from the margins to the...
Cited: Annette Gordon-Reed, The New Yorker
The Norton Anthology American Literature pages 779-781
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