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Maine Writers Index - Detail (Return to List)
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Children's Literature, General Fiction
Harriet Beecher Stowe
(1811 - 1896)
Known for her first novel, the anti-slavery Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) -- which was an immediate sensation, fanning the pro- and anti-slavery flames that eventually gave rise to the Civil War -- Stowe also wrote The Pearl of Orr's Island: A Story of the Coast of Maine (1862/2001). Sarah Orne Jewett wrote, in the second preface to her collection of short stories, Deephaven (1893 edition), that The Pearl was a work that influenced her in her youth and helped her 'see with new eyes' how she could incorporate her locality into her writing.
Stowe was born in Litchfield, CT, on 14 June 1811, and grew up in a family that prized education and morality. She taught at her sister Catharine's school from 1827-1832, and then at Western Female Institute in Cincinnati (founded by sister Catharine). Harriet married Calvin E. Stowe in 1836, when he was a professor at Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati. She wrote stories and sketches to earn money after they were married, and in 1850 the Stowes moved to Brunswick, Maine (63 Federal Street), after her husband was appointed Professor of Natural and Revealed Religion at Bowdoin College; this is where she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin -- which was first published serially in National Era (1851-1852) -- and The Pearl. The Stowes lived in Andover, Mass., from 1852-1864, and after 1864 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her husband died in 1866 but Stowe remained in Hartford, raising their seven children, until her death in 1896, although she travelled widely in the U.S. and abroad. She died on 1 July 1896.
Stowe's works include:
Stowe also wrote poems, some of which are available online; here's 'The Crocus,' and six others are on the same site. Her article, 'Sojourner Truth, The Libyan Sibyl' (in The Atlantic Monthly, April 1863) is available through UVA.
Two good biographical pages on Stowe are Stowe on the Celebration of Women Site and
the Sunshine for Women page on Stowe. There's also lots of biographical information about Stowe's
early life and about other family members available through UVA's full-text posting
'The Girlhood of Harriet Beecher Stowe,' written by Stowe's son and grandson. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has lots of info about her life and times. It also lists major repositories of her manuscripts. Stowe's son wrote her biography in 1889: Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, compiled from her letters
and journals by her son, Charles Edward Stowe.