Introduction - Harriet Beecher StoweIt is rumored that Harriet Beecher Stowe was once referred to by Abraham Lincoln as "the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war". The book was Uncle Tom's Cabin and the war Lincoln referred to was of course the Civil War. Stowe captured the world's attention and secured her place in history as a civil rights activist when her book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, was published. Her book vividly demonstrated the horror of slavery and why it should be abolished. What resulted was a heated reaction with praise from abolitionists and outrage from supporters of slavery. Read more about the influential life of Harriet Beecher Stowe below, where you will find a list of facts about her life written in a kid-friendly format.
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Harriet Beecher Stowe Early Life
- Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14, 1811, to Rev. Lyman Beecher and Roxana Foote Beecher.
- Stowe's mother died of tuberculosis when she was just five years old, leaving her father a widower to care for six children.
- She developed her love for writing early in life. At the age of just seven, her father was delighted when she won a writing contest at school.
- Not only was Harriet Beecher Stowe against slavery, but her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, became a famous abolitionist as well.
- On January 6, 1836, at the age of twenty-five, Harriet Beecher Stowe married Calvin Ellis Stowe. He was a widower she had met at a literary and social club after moving to Ohio with her father. Like Harriet, he was passionately against slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Civil War
- Several key events in Harriet Beecher Stowe's life influenced her to write Uncle Tom's Cabin. She met and often interviewed former slaves who had escaped via the Underground Railroad. She also witnessed slavery firsthand while touring Kentucky. In 1849, when her young son died of Cholera, she felt she could relate to enslaved mothers who lost children to slavery.
- The National Era, an anti-slavery newspaper published the first of many installments of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin in June of 1851. Every week from that point on until April of 1852 another installment was published.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin was published as a novel in 1852 and within a year more than 300,000 copies of the book had been sold. It became a bestselling book, not only in the United States, but throughout much of the world.
- After the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, tensions ran so high between the north and the south that it became a major catalyst that sparked the Civil War.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Interesting Facts
- Harriet Beecher Stowe's literary works include more than thirty books on an array of subjects ranging from children's books and childrearing books to advice books, religious books, and biographies.
- In 1862, after the start of the Civil War, she met with President Lincoln in Washington D.C. It was not until after her meeting with Lincoln that she discovered a true admiration for him.
- Eva, one of the characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin, became a hugely popular baby name in northern states, particularly in Massachusetts.
- The house that Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in after moving to Ohio, prior to getting married, is now a historical site and museum.
- She and her husband helped aid and house several slaves that had escaped their masters, one of which was their servant.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe died on July 1, 1896 in Hartford, Connecticut at the age of 85.