Harriet Beecher Stowe Additional Biography


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was so captivating and moving to its readers that its more subversive attacks on white male hegemony went largely unnoticed. Furthermore, positing the spiritual superiority of women and black people was not enough to disrupt the status quo. Coupled with the lack of a clear and intellectually convincing argument for the moral and intellectual identity between the races and genders, the focus on the religious vision of Christ as mother overshadows the book’s possible political impact. By postulating the moral and spiritual superiority of the two suppressed groups, women and black people, instead of a vision of equal adulthood, Stowe marred the political impact of the book.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born Harriet Elizabeth Beecher on June 14, 1811, the seventh child of Lyman and Roxana Beecher. By this time her father’s fame as a preacher had spread well beyond the Congregational Church of Litchfield, Connecticut. All seven Beecher sons who lived to maturity became ministers, one becoming more famous than his father. Harriet, after attending Litchfield Academy, a well-regarded school, was sent to the Hartford Female Seminary, which was founded by her sister, Catharine—in some respects the substitute mother whom Harriet needed after Roxana died in 1816 but did not discover in the second Mrs. Beecher. In later years, Harriet would consistently idealize motherhood. When Catharine’s fiancé, a brilliant young man but one who had not experienced any perceptible religious conversion, died in 1822, the eleven-year-old Harriet felt the tragedy. In 1827, the shy, melancholy girl became a teacher in her sister’s school.

In 1832, Lyman Beecher accepted the presidency of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, and soon Catharine and Harriet had established another school there. Four years later, Harriet married a widower named Calvin Stowe, a Lane professor. In the years that followed, she had seven children. She also became familiar with slavery, as practiced just across the Ohio River in Kentucky; with the abolitionist movement, which boasted several notable champions in Cincinnati, including the future chief justice of the United States, Salmon P. Chase; and with the Underground Railroad. As a way of supplementing her husband’s small income, she also contributed to local and religious periodicals.

Not until the Stowes moved to Brunswick, Maine, in 1850, however, did she think of writing about slavery. Then, urged by her brother, Henry,...

(The entire section is 730 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201280-Stowe_HB.jpg Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe presented two regional backgrounds in her fiction: the South before the Civil War and the rural area of New England and Maine. Her novels of the antebellum South, were less authentic as well as more melodramatic in style. They were more popular, however, because of the timeliness of their theme and the antislavery feeling they created.{$S[A]Stowe, Catharine;Stowe, Harriet Beecher}{$S[A]Beecher Stowe, Harriet;Stowe, Harriet Beecher}

Harriet Elizabeth Beecher was the daughter of a famous minister, the Reverend Lyman Beecher, and the sister of Henry Ward Beecher. She was educated in the school of her older sister Catharine, who encouraged her inclination to write. The family moved to...

(The entire section is 584 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Harriet Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14, 1811, the seventh child of Lyman and Roxana Foote Beecher. Two years after her mother’s death in 1816, Harriet’s father married Harriet Porter of Portland, Maine. Lyman Beecher, a minister in the tradition of eighteenth century preacher Jonathan Edwards, who had attempted to breathe life into old Calvinism, dominated the household. Daily family worship and religious instruction shaped the lives of all the Beecher children. All seven brothers who reached maturity became ministers, according to their father’s wishes, and the girls in the family were expected to marry ministers. Because of her father’s focus on his sons’ mental and intellectual preparation as...

(The entire section is 976 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Stowe seemed destined to write a powerful protest novel like Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her father was Lyman Beecher, a prominent evangelical...

(The entire section is 477 words.)