Harriet Beecher Stowe

images for Harriet Beecher Stowe
Exhibition Label
Excluded from public professions, cultivated women sought other avenues for their talents. From discussing the issues of the day in informal salon gatherings, it was a short step for women to become writers, especially since the antebellum period saw a burgeoning number of magazines catering to women. So Harriet Beecher Stowe started a career that made her one of the most popular novelists of the nineteenth century. Stowe's place in American history was sealed with her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-52), which sold 300,000 copies in its first year. Uncle Tom's Cabin was a reform novel; Stowe was motivated to write it by the Fugitive Slave Law and the effect that slavery had in destroying the African American family. No more effective charge could be made in a nation that, both North and South, revered the family as the foundation of society.
Alexander Purdy, National Theater, New York. George P. Howard, Marion, Mass.; purchased by NPG December 1967.
Note: Purdy commissioned a portrait from the artist, and then a replica. It is not known whether NPG 68.1 was the first or not; nor is it certain that Fisher even had a life sitting from Stowe as suggested in publication. [nothing in file at least]The newspaper account of Mr. Stowe’s testimony, the main contemp document, describes an elaborate frame: neither this nor the one at Stowe-Daye came with original frame. (Letter from George Howard. [see also memo to file EGM noting that frame is inscribed on reverse: “Two Children and Dog by John Neagle.”] Joseph S. Van Why, Curator of the Stowe-Day Foundation, thought theirs was the replica because it came without frame and Fisher’s had “the original victorian frame.” This was however not true, and Howard was sure his (NPG’s) was the replica. Letter to Robert G. Stewart, October 16, 1967. The donor wrote that he remembered the portrait among trunks of theatrical effects on the third floor of his grandmother’s house-- unframed. Letter to Charles Nagel, December 3, 1967. Letter 12/3/67 Howard had the frame made; “As to the original frame for this portrait—it has not existed in my lifetime.”
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair
Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe: Female
Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe: Literature\Writer\Novelist
Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Abolitionist
National Portrait Gallery
Alanson Fisher, 1807 - 1884
Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe, 14 Jun 1811 - 1 Jul 1896
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 86.4 x 68.6 x 2.5cm (34 x 27 x 1")
Frame: 105.4 x 88.3 x 8.6cm (41 1/2 x 34 3/4 x 3 3/8")
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 122
Object number