Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe, 14 Jun 1811 - 1 Jul 1896
Albumen silver print
Image/Sheet: 8.5 x 5.5 cm (3 3/8 x 2 3/16")
Mount: 10 x 6.3 cm (3 15/16 x 2 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Born Litchfield, Connecticut
In 1851, when Harriet Beecher Stowe began writing a story depicting the cruelties of Southern slavery, she did not expect her text to be very long, and her hopes for having any impact on shaping antislavery opinion were modest. But what began as a short story turned into the best-selling novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), a work that became the most widely read antislavery tract of the pre–Civil War era. While the book galvanized the North’s growing antipathy for slavery, Southerners raged at the alleged distortion of their world, and there is little doubt that the publication played a significant part in widening the breach between the two regions.