When Harriet Beecher Stowe began writing a short
story in 1851 about the cruelties of slavery, she
little suspected that it would turn into a novel
known as Uncle Toms Cabin and become the
most widely read abolitionist tract of the day.
Nor did she dream that it would play a significant
part in widening the breach between North and South.
But, in fact, that is what happened. While Uncle
Tom solidified the Norths antagonism toward
slavery, Southerners raged at this New England writer
who had dared to condemn a society she had never
The popularity of Uncle Toms Cabin in the North
led to its transformation into a play. Stowes disapproval
of the theater prevented her from sharing in this enterprise.
Nevertheless, soon after the staged version opened in
New York in 1853, this portrait of her was installed
in the theater lobby.