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.