Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a seminal American literary work that was included in a series known as “The Reader’s Library.” In the words of the editor: “The series contains romances and stories of adventure, poetry and essays, biography and travel, philosophy and science, for the entertainment and instruction of old and young.” The burgundy front cover has stamped gold ornamental motifs and a medieval shield that invokes Gothic architecture. The book would have been displayed in a parlor as well as read, which accounts of the decorative cover similar to that on the first editions of the novel. On the inside front cover is a handwritten inscription: “To the girls, Mrs. Patterson Jan. 22, 1924.”
Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) rose to fame in 1851 with the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which highlighted the evils of slavery, angered the slaveholding South, and inspired pro-slavery copy-cat works in defense of the institution of slavery. Stowe’s father was the famed Congregational minister Lyman Beecher and her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, was also a famous preacher and reformer. In 1824, she attended her sister Catherine Beecher’s Hartford Female Seminary, which exposed young women to many of the same courses available in men’s academies. Stowe became a teacher, working from 1829 to 1832 at the Seminary.
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote numerous articles, some of which were published in the renowned women’s magazine of the times, Godey’s Lady’s Book. She also wrote 30 books, covering a wide range of topics from homemaking to religion, as well as several novels. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which legally compelled Northerners to return runaway slaves, infuriated Stowe and many in the North. She subsequently authored her most famous work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Originally serialized in the National Era, Stowe saw her tale as a call to arms for Northerners to defy the Fugitive Slave Act. It was released as a book in 1852 and later performed on stage and translated into dozens of languages. Stowe used her fame to petition to end slavery. She toured nationally and internationally, speaking about her book and donating some of what she earned to help the antislavery cause.
Lucas Lexow was the editor of a famous series of abridged classics published for children by J.H. Sears and Company called “The Reader’s Library.” Joseph H. Sears (1865-1946) founded his original publishing company in New York City in 1922. The firm was reincorporated as J.H. Sears Publishing Company in 1929. Sears was purchased by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1934, which continued in business until 1990.
Object Name
Object Type
instructional materials
date made
circa 1924
Stowe, Harriet Beecher
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 6 1/2 in x 4 1/4 in x 3/4 in; 16.51 cm x 10.795 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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