Pages from History: Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

20 March, 1852: Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of the famous Congregational minister Lyman Beecher, publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin (which had been serialized in an antislavery newspaper).

The book sold one million copies and was so influential in arousing antislavery sentiment that Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said upon meeting Stowe in 1863: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this Great War!”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, c. 1852, (Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Gurney & Sons)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, c. 1852, (Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Gurney & Sons)

Title-page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin [First Edition: Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1852].

Title-page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom’s Cabin [First Edition: Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1852].

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