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A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Stowe, Mrs. Harriet Beecher

Stowe, Mrs. Harriet Beecher (1811?-1896). -- Novelist and miscellaneous writer, dau. of Dr. Lyman Beecher, a well-known American clergyman, and sister of Henry Ward B., one of the most popular preachers whom America has produced, was b. at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1811 or 1812. After spending some years as a teacher, she m. the Rev. Calvin E. Stowe. Up till 1852 all she had written was a little vol. of stories which failed to attract attention. In that year, at the suggestion of a sister-in-law, she decided to write something against slavery, and produced Uncle Tom's Cabin, which originally appeared in serial form in a magazine, The National Era. It did not at the time receive much attention, but on its appearance in a separate form it took the world by storm. Its sale soon reached 400,000 copies, and the reprints have probably page 364reached a far greater number. It was translated into numerous foreign languages, and had a powerful effect in hurrying on the events which ultimately resulted in emancipation. Her later works include Dred, The Minister's Wooing, Agnes of Sorrento, The Pearl of Orr's Island, and Old Town Folks. Some of these, especially the last, are in a literary sense much superior to Uncle Tom's Cabin, but none of them had more than an ordinary success. In 1869 an article on Lord Byron involved her in a somewhat unfortunate controversy.