belasco stowe

Stowe in Her Own Time

A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates
Susan Belasco

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330 pages, 37 photos, 3 drawings, 6 x 9 inches
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“Belasco gives us a wide range of first-person perspectives, from protective family members, to fellow abolitionists such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, to African American colleagues and critics such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. The result is a complex and very human portrait. An excellent book for both the specialist and the general reader.”—Elizabeth Ammons, Harriet H. Fay Professor of Literature, Tufts University, and editor, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”: A Casebook

"These thirty-eight well-chosen and well-edited selections could be titled 'Stowe and Her Times.' In them, both the author and her contemporary audience come into focus in striking, complex, and illuminating ways."—Stephen Railton, University of Virginia

One of the first celebrity authors, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) became famous almost overnight when Uncle Tom’s Cabin—which sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year of publication—appeared in 1852. Known by virtually all famous writers in the United States and many in England and regarded by many women writers as a role model because of her influence in the literary marketplace, Stowe herself was the subject of many books, articles, essays, and poems during her lifetime.

This volume brings together for the first time a range of primary materials about Stowe’s private and public life written by family members, friends, and fellow writers who knew or were influenced by her before and after Uncle Tom’s Cabin catapulted her to fame. Included are periodical articles by Fanny Fern and Charles Dudley Warner; biographical essays by Sarah Josepha Hale and Rose Terry Cooke; letters by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Harriet Jacobs; recollections by Frederick Douglass, Annie Adams Fields, Isabella Beecher Hooker, and Charles Beecher; and poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar and John Greenleaf Whittier. An introduction at the beginning of each essay connects it to its historical and cultural context, explanatory notes provide information about people and places, and the book includes a detailed introduction and a chronology of Stowe’s life. 

The thirty-eight recollections gathered in Stowe in Her Own Time form a biographical narrative designed to provide several perspectives on the famous author, sometimes in conflict and sometimes in agreement but always perceptive. The figure who emerges from this insightful, analytical collection is far more complex than the image she helped construct in her lifetime.

Table of contents: 

Introduction xi
Chronology xxxvii
Harriet Beecher Stowe, [Memories of My Childhood in Litchfield, 1811–1824] 1
Charles Edward Stowe and Lyman Beecher Stowe, From “The Girlhood of Harriet Beecher Stowe” (1811–1832) 16
Charles Edward Stowe, [Stowe in Cincinnati, 1832–1836] 25
Harriet Beecher Stowe, [Life in Brunswick, December 1850] 41
Sarah Josepha Hale, “Harriet Beecher Stowe” (1851) 48
Harriet Beecher Stowe, [Letter to Gamaliel Bailey on Writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1851] 51
Charles Dudley Warner, From “The Story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin” 55
Harriet Beecher Stowe, [Autobiographical Letter to Eliza Follen, 1852] 62
Fanny Fern, [Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1853] 70
Francis H. Underwood, [Stowe at a Performance of Uncle
Tom’s Cabin, 1853] 73
J. C. Derby, [Stowe and the Success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin] 77
Frederick Douglass, [First Meeting with Stowe, 1853] 86
Harriet Jacobs, [Letters about Stowe, 1852–1853] 95
Anonymous, [Stowe in Liverpool, 13 April 1853] 102
Charles Beecher, [Diary Entry for 14 April 1853] 110
Sarah Pugh, [Stowe in London, May 1853] 114
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, [Impressions of Stowe] 117
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, [Recollections of Stowe at Andover] 123
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, [Stowe and the Atlantic
Monthly Dinner, 1859] 130
Annie Adams Fields, “Days with Mrs. Stowe” 135
Lydia Maria Child, [An Evening with Stowe in 1861] 141
Lucy Larcom, [Lunch with Stowe, August 1862] 146
Charles Edward Stowe and Lyman Beecher Stowe,
[Stowe and President Abraham Lincoln, 2 December 1862] 149
Gail Hamilton, [Impressions of Stowe in 1867] 152
Florine Thayer McCray, [Stowe’s Life after the Civil War] 155
James Parton, From “International Copyright” (1867) 168
Catharine Beecher, “Petty Slanders” (1869) 176
Rose Terry Cooke, [Stowe and the Lady Byron Controversy, 1869–1870] 181
Mark Twain, [Memories of a Neighbor at Nook Farm] 185
George Parsons Lathrop, [Stowe at Nook Farm] 188
Anonymous, “The Birthday Garden Party to Harriet Beecher Stowe” (1882) 193
Joseph H. Twichell, “Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe in Hartford” (1886) 227
Alexandra Gripenberg, “Harriet Beecher Stowe” (1888) 233
[An Exchange between Harriet Beecher Stowe and Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1893] 241
[Eulogies and Remembrances of Stowe at Her Death in 1896] 246
Isabella Beecher Hooker, A Brief Sketch of the Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1896) 253
Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Harriet Beecher Stowe” (1898) 261
Anonymous, “The Creator of ‘Uncle Tom’ ” (1911) 264
Permissions 269
Bibliography 271
Index 279