Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811 - 1896

portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe
From the National Archives, ca. 1875
Harriet Beecher Stowe signature

Born: 14 June 1811, Litchfield, Connecticut
Died: 1 July 1896, Hartford, Connecticut

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was the daughter of Lyman Beecher, an outspoken Calvinist clergyman, her mother Roxanna died just less than four years later. One of her five brothers was Henry Ward Beecher. She attended Litchfield Academy, in 1824 she moved to Hartford to attend Hartford Female Seminary which was run by her eldest sister, Catharine. Harriet took readily to writing, her first published work was a children's geography text written with Catharine. In 1832 Lyman was appointed president of Lane Theological Seminary at Cincinnati, Ohio and the family moved there. Harriet began her successful writing career after winning a writing contest in 1834, her work appeared in many magazines. In 1836 she married Calvin Stowe, a professor at the seminary, and during this period that she first encountered the effects of slavery being immediately across the river from Kentucky, a slave state. Calvin was hired to teach at his alma mater, Bowdoin College at Brunswick, Maine, in 1850, the same year the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. In response, Harriet wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, first serialized in National Era and then released in book form. It sold more copies than any English language book other than the bible at the time and was believed by many to be the trigger that galvanized the Union to fight the Civil War. (Abraham Lincoln's greeting her with "So you're the little lady who started this great war!" is almost certainly apocryphal.) Harriet was a in great demand as a speaker, both in the US and Europe, following publication of the book, and she published several additional novels and a steady stream of magazine articles. The Stowes moved to Andover, Massachusetts when Calvin was hired to teach at a seminary there, then moved to Hartford, Connecticut. In 1873 they moved to their last house, still at Hartford, neighboring Mark Twain who became a close friend. In 1886 Calvin Died and Harriet's mind began to go in 1888, she died at home.

Biography from Wikipedia and OnlineLiterature.com

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