Monday, 14 June 2010

On this day...

American abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe, was born in 1811. The seventh child of deeply religious parents, Stowe attended private schools under her sister's tuition, eventually becoming a teacher herself and writing 'Primary Geography for Children'. Indeed, of the Stowe's 11 children, all seven sons became ministers, the eldest daughter became a pioneer in women's education, and the youngest, a founder of the National Women's Suffrage Association. At the age of 21, she moved to Cincinnati, to join her father, who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary.

It was there that she met future husband Calvin Stowe, whom she described as 'rich in Greek and Hebrew, Latin and Arabic, and alas, rich in nothing else', and her writing career began in earnest, publishing 'The Mayflower' in 1843. Lived at a time of great civil unrest in America, Stowe and her family formed an integral link in the Underground Railroad escape network for slaves, housing several fugitives themselves. Indeed, it was in response to Congress tightening fugitive laws, that Stowe wrote her best known work. 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', first published in anti-slavery journal 'National Era', sold over 300,000 copies in its first year of publication and was translated into 60 languages. Stowe is said to have danced in the street when Lincoln announced the end of slavery.

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