Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was born in Connecticut, USA. She was one of 13 children of religious leader Lyman Beecher and Roxanna Foote Beecher, who died when Harriet was a child. Harriet’s sister, Catharine Beecher, an author and a teacher, was a major influence on her life. Harriet studied at a school run by Catharine, pursuing classical learning, which was usually reserved for young men. At 21, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Harriet married seminary teacher Calvin Ellis Stowe in 1836 and moved to Brunswick, Maine. Along with their interest in literature, Harriet and Calvin Stowe shared a strong belief in abolition. In 1850, the US Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law, triggering distress in abolitionist and free black communities of the North. Harriet responded to the churning with a literary portrait of slavery. In 1851, the first installment of her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was featured in the National Era. It was published as a book in 1852 and became an instant best seller. Stowe also wrote stories, essays, textbooks and several novels such as Oldtown Folks and Dred.