America in the 1850s

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Where was Uncle Tom’s Cabin published?

As one might expect, the blockbuster novel of the decade, indeed of the nineteenth century, was published in Boston. On March 20, 1852, publisher John Jewett brought out 5,000 copies of the two-volume work Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly. Both he and the author feared all the copies would not sell, but 3,000 sold in the first week, and within the month subsequent printings and editions were ordered. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was on its way to becoming the literary sensation of the era.

Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) of Maine, Uncle Tom’s Cabin depicted the lives of a handful of slaves as they moved through some of the “best” as well the some of the “worst” aspects of slave life. The overall effect was extremely powerful, combining the eye of the novelist with the skill of a researcher.


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