A snapshot biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe


“The truth is the kindest thing we can give folks in the end.”

Black and white portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe, a middle-aged woman with curly hair, wearing a dark dress with a high collar and a brooch, looking slightly to the side with a thoughtful expression.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, circa 1875

Harriet Beecher Stowe had a gift for words and the courage to use them. With vigor, she would voice what she believed right at seeing wrongs in society. 

Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1811, Harriet grew up in a family that believed in the importance of making a positive impact in the world. Raised with that mindset, well educated, Harriet found her way to contribute by writing books. 

Throughout her life, she would write thirty books and numerous articles. But it was her most famous work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that helped shift society. The story, written about slavery in the U.S. and the impact of enslavement on people, was published first in serial form in 1851 and then as a book in 1852. It had an initial print run of five thousand copies. Three hundred thousand copies were sold within a year, and about two million copies within five years. While unconfirmed, President Lincoln reportedly said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war,” upon meeting Harriet in 1862. 

Shortly before writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet wrote, “I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak… I hope every woman who can write will not be silent.”


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“A snapshot biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe” sources:

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