Thursday, May 23, 2019

1853 Description of Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Covington Journal printed this piece on January 8, 1853, just a few weeks after Uncle Tom's Cabin had been published. Strangely enough, I could not find any reaction to the book in this newspaper around that time, though I will search through some later editions too.

The writer of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is thus described in the Boston Herald:

Mrs. Stowe is about forty years of age, low in stature, having a brilliant expressive eye, short features, hair thin and dark, with an occasional of grey, and her whole contour, as the French would say, being expressive of a highly nervous temperament, with quick perceptive powers of reading the minds of all present at a quick glance. All in all, however, she is not as good looking as her writings had led us to suppose.

The Springfield Republican Says: 
Some may get a better idea of Mrs. S' personal appearance from the following anecdote. Her husband, Professor Stowe, not being able to meet her personally at the railroad station on her expected arrival home, sent a student with the following directions to do the polite. He returned with an answer to the Professor that his wife did not come.  

'Impossible,' says the husband, 'she was certainly to arrive by this train with her children. ' 

'But she assuredly did not come - for the only female that arrived was an Irish woman with two children, who got into a carriage and drove off.' 

The Professor found his wife at home!

courtesy wikipedia


  1. Have you ever done research around Mrs Stowe's research in writing Uncle Tom's Cabin, and how it ties in with Carthage/NKY? I still have yet to establish truth around her and Elijah Herndon (his house sits behind Ken McCormick's place, and is my great-great-great-great grandfather). Being the history buff, if you didn't know this you might find it interesting that Elijah and William Herndon (Lincoln's law partner) were 2nd cousins/once removed. Per William's boastful accounts, it was because of him insisting that Lincoln read Uncle Tom's Cabin that changed Lincoln's ultimate stance on slavery. We should talk sometime... as I'm sure we have a couple family overlaps between Whites/Tarvins/McCormicks/etc...

  2. Sorry for not replying sooner, but I am not receiving notifications about comments and don't remember to check for them. Shame on me.

    I've heard the stories about that house influencing her.

    We definitely should talk. I know I have direct and indirect connections to the Tarvins and another to Oliver Moore. My dad always said we were related to everybody in Carthage and I'm starting to believe him


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