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Stowe collection

Identifier: M172

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Scope and Contents Note

The Stowe collection dates from 1824 to 2011 and measures 3 linear feet in 5 boxes. The collection is arranged in four series: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Calvin Ellis Stowe, and Images. The bulk of the collection deals with Harriet Beecher Stowe’s most famous work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe series (1828-2007) contains biographical information about Stowe, including correspondence, holograph notes, editorials, and transcripts of selected letters.

The Uncle Tom’s Cabin series (1852-1956) consists of playbills, sheet music, trade cards, advertisements, an inscribed album, illustrations, and news clippings of various editions and adaptations of Stowe’s novel. The series is made up of three sub-series: Music, Images and Illustrations, and Articles and Clippings. A significant portion of the material found in this series contains racist imagery, including the use of Blackface and minstrelsy.

Material relating to Calvin Ellis Stowe can be found in the Calvin Ellis Stowe series and includes correspondence (1824-1873), biographical clippings, images, and an obituary.

The Images series consist of family portraits, engravings, and postcards from various locations relating to the Stowe family and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


  • Creation: 1824 - 2011
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1852 - 1900

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Biographical / Historical Note

Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14, 1811. She attended then taught at the Hartford Female Academy, a school founded by her sister Catherine. She later taught at the Western Female Institute in Ohio. Stowe published her first story in Western Monthly in 1834. She later contributed to Atlantic Monthly, the New York Independent, and the Christian Union.

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her most famous novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (published in 1852), while living in Brunswick, Maine. First published as a serial in the National Era, the novel sold over two million copies within two years and has never gone out of print. The novel was adapted into numerous stage productions, musicals, and films, often performed by traveling companies. Portrayals of Uncle Tom’s Cabin included the use of Blackface and other anti-Black racist imagery and stereotypes. While originally published as a statement against slavery in the United States, Stowe’s work has since been criticized for its creation of the “Tom caricature” that portrays Black men as model submissive servants. Other works by Stowe include The Pearl of Orr's Island (1862) and Poganuc People (1878). Harriet Beecher Stowe died on July 11, 1896, at her home in Hartford, Connecticut.

Calvin Ellis Stowe (Bowdoin 1824), educator and writer, was born April 26, 1802, in Natick, Massachusetts. Stowe attended school in Bradford, Massachusetts, and Gorham Academy in Gorham, Maine, before entering Bowdoin College. After graduating, Stowe worked at Bowdoin as Librarian. He left in 1825 to teach at Andover Theological Seminary, Dartmouth and, later, Lane Theological Seminary in Ohio, where he met and married Harriet Elizabeth Beecher in 1836. Stowe spent the early 1850s at Bowdoin as Collins Professor of Natural and Revealed Religion. Stowe retired from teaching after spending twelve more years at Andover. On August 22, 1886, Calvin Stowe died at his home in Mandarin, Florida.


3 Linear Feet (Photographs located in boxes 2, 3, and 4 (oversized); Artifacts located in box 5.)

Language of Materials



Collection of ephemera relating to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, its original author Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe, and her family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection of ephemera was gifted by Susan Beegel.

Guide to the Stowe Collection
Emma Barton-Norris
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288