Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life
"Up to this year I have always felt that I had no particular call to meddle with this subject....But I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak." Thus did Harriet Beecher Stowe announce her decision to begin work on what would become one of the most influential novels ever written. The subject she had hesitated to "meddle with" was slavery, and the novel, of course, was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Still debated today for its portrayal of African Americans and its unresolved place in the literary canon, Stowe's best-known work was first published in weekly installments from June 5, 1851 to April 1, 1852. It caused such a stir in both the North and South, and even in Great Britain, that when Stowe met President Lincoln in 1862 he is said to have greeted her with the words, "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that created this great war!" In this landmark book, the first full-scale biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe in over fifty years, Joan D. Hedrick tells the absorbing story of this gifted, complex, and contradictory woman. Hedrick takes readers into the multilayered world of nineteenth century morals and mores, exploring the influence of then-popular ideas of "true womanhood" on Stowe's upbringing as a member of the outspoken Beecher clan, and her eventful life as a writer and shaper of public opinion who was also a mother of seven. It offers a lively record of the flourishing parlor societies that launched and sustained Stowe throughout the 44 years of her career, and the harsh physical realities that governed so many women's lives. The epidemics, high infant mortality, and often disastrous medical practices of the day are portrayed in moving detail, against the backdrop of western expansion, and the great social upheaval accompanying the abolitionist movement and the entry of women into public life. Here are Stowe's public triumphs, both before and after the Civil War, and the private tragedies that included the death of her adored eighteen month old son, the drowning of another son, and the alcohol and morphine addictions of two of her other children. The daughter, sister, and wife of prominent ministers, Stowe channeled her anguish and her ambition into a socially acceptable anger on behalf of others, transforming her private experience into powerful narratives that moved a nation. Magisterial in its breadth and rich in detail, this definitive portrait explores the full measure of Harriet Beecher Stowe's life, and her contribution to American literature. Perceptive and engaging, it illuminates the career of a major writer during the transition of literature from an amateur pastime to a profession, and offers a fascinating look at the pains, pleasures, and accomplishments of women's lives in the last century.
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Acquisitions American Andover Annie Fields antislavery Atlantic August Autobiography baby Beecher Family Papers Beecher-Stowe Collection Boston brother C. E. Stowe Calvin Stowe Catharine Beecher Catharine's Charles Beecher Charley Christian Cincinnati culture daughter December domestic Elizabeth England February feel Fields Papers folder Foote friends George Georgiana Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet wrote Hartford Female Seminary Hatty Stowe HBS to Hatty HBS to Henry HBS to James HBS to Mary Henry Ward Beecher Isabella Beecher Hooker Isabella Hooker Collection James Fields January July June Lady Byron letter Litchfield Female Academy literary literature Lyman Beecher male Mary Beecher Perkins Mary Dutton Minister's Wooing mother novel November Nutplains October Oldtown Folks parlor Roxana Samuel Foote Sarah Sch.D Schl Semi-Colon September sister slavery story Stowe Collection Stowe's Talcott things tion told Uncle Tom's Cabin wife woman women writing York young
Page 214 - One family we dwell in Him, One Church above, beneath, Though now divided by the stream, The narrow stream of death : One army of the living God, To his command we bow ; Part of the host have crossed the flood, And part are crossing now.
Page 282 - Still o'er these scenes my memory wakes, And fondly broods with miser care ; Time but the impression stronger makes, As streams their channels deeper wear.
Page 203 - Constitution referred to, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and all good citizens are hereby commanded to aid and assist in the prompt and efficient execution of this law, whenever their services may be required...
Page 138 - My dear, you must be a literary woman. It is so written in the book of fate. Make all your calculations accordingly.
Page 398 - I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.
Page 18 - How the axes rung, and the chips flew, and the jokes and stories flew faster ; and when all was cut and split, then came the great work of wheeling in and piling ; and then I, sole little girl among so many boys, was sucked into the vortex of enthusiasm by father's well -pointed declaration that he ' wished Harriet was a boy, she would do more than any of them.
Page 209 - The sweeter graces of the Christian religion appear almost too tropical and tender plants to grow in the soil of the Caucasian mind ; they require a character of human nature, of which you can see the rude lineaments in the Ethiopian, to be implanted in, and grow naturally and beautifully withal.
Page 8 - Jerusalem, my happy home, When shall I come to thee ? When shall my sorrows have an end, Thy joys when shall I see...
Page 75 - I have felt an intense sympathy with many parts of that book, with many parts of her character. But in America feelings vehement and absorbing like hers become still more deep, morbid, and impassioned by the constant habits of self-government which the rigid forms of our society demand. They are repressed, and they burn inwardly till they burn the very soul, leaving only dust and ashes.
Page 207 - Now Hattie, if I could use a pen as you can I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is.