Harriet Beecher Stowe
(1811 - 1896)

Harriet Beecher Stowe became an almost instant icon of the Civil War era, based on the wild success of her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, most of which she wrote in Maine. Though not a Maine native, Stowe moved to Brunswick, Maine when her husband was offered a professorship at Bowdoin College. Harriet Beecher Stowe was the daughter of a Calvinist minister who served as the head of a seminary in Cincinnati. There, she met many staunch abolitionists. Though she did not have much first-hand experience with slavery, she did travel to Kentucky, where she witnessed slave life, and heard her brother's descriptions of slavery in New Orleans. At the urging of her sister in law, Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, the story of a slave who is sold from master to master before he dies. Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was published originally as a serial novel in The National Era, was an immediate best seller in both the U.S. and Britain. Stowe was hated in the South and revered among abolitionists. Indeed, it became the best weapon in the Abolitionist arsenal in the years prior to the Civil War as both a novel and play. Uncle Tom, Eliza, Topsey and the evil Yankee overseer Simon Legree, became household names. Stowe's best-known novel with a Maine focus is The Pearl of Orr's Island (1862), still considered a regional classic.

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