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Harriet Beecher Stowe, a life well lived
A novelist and social reformer
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was one of America's greatest writers. In her life she would become a best selling novelist, meet President Abraham Lincoln and get to know famous people like Frederick Douglas. She was an attractive petite brunette who was well educated and driven. She wrote over 20 books in her lifetime.
Harriet was born and educated in Connecticut. Her father Lyman Beecher was an avid and enthusiastic religious speaker. Harriet lost her mother as a toddler. Harriet's mother died when she was only five years old. Her sister would become her care giver. The girls in her family were all educated along with all of her brothers who were well educated. The boys were raised to be ministers.
When Harriet was 21 years old her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Her and her sister founded the Western Female Institute there and began teaching school. Harriet's first love was writing. Her first work was published in 1833. In 1836 the lovely writer and teacher married Calvin Stowe. He was an ardent abolitionist who possessed compatable political views with hers. She continued to write and was encouraged by her husband and family.
In 1849 there was a outbreak of Cholera in the Ohio Valley and the City of Cincinnati was struck particularly hard. Calvin and Harriet were left heartbroken when they lost an 18 month old infant son during the deadly outbreak. Even in times of emotional sufferring, Stowe found the strength and courage to go on and continued her career as a writer and teacher. In 1851 Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in segments in the National Era Newspaper in Washington, D.C. It was an enormous success.
By 1852 her novel was published in full form and became a number one best seller the first year. Uncle Tom's Cabin told the harsh life of a sold and resold slave and his desperate escape to freedom. It was published in 60 languages in many countries around the world. Her book would aspire a social and political movement that helped change the world
Harriet Beecher Stowe would write 20 more books in her life time. She spent her last happy days in Connecticut. Her last home in Hartford she lived in for for 23 years is now a museum. Historic collections of her works are well preserved by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Like their namesake, the center is committed to education, dedicated to promoting social justice, and seeks to encourage positive political changes in the world. Harriet died in 1896 at the ripe old age of 85.
By Joanne Kathleen Farrell, author of Liberty for the Lion Shield
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