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An Indepth Biography Of Harriet Beecher Stowe

1586 words - 6 pages

Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe was born on June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was the seventh child of Lyman and Roxana Beecher. Harriet was an author, philanthropist, and an abolitionist. Her father, Lyman Beecher, was a Calvinist, and pastor of the Congregational Church. Her mother, Roxana Foote, had eight children, and was the minister's first wife. However, she died when Harriet was only four years old. At this point Harriet's oldest sister Catherine assumed a mother's role in the family. Harriet paid many long visits to her mother's house in Nutplains, Connecticut where her Aunt Harriet Foote would often reprimand her. Within approximately two years the Beecher children had a new mother named Harriet Porter Beecher, and she bore three more children for Lyman.Harriet attended school at the Pierce Academy in Litchfield from 1819 to 1824, and for three years after that she attended her sister Catherine Beecher's Hartford Female Seminary. However, from 1827 until 1832 Stowe taught at Catherine's school. Lyman Beecher became the president of Lane Theological Seminary in 1832, and he moved to Cincinnati with his family. There Catherine founded another school called the Western Female Institute and Harriet taught in the school, and wrote a geography book for children, the first of which was sold under Catherine's name. In January of 1836, Harriet married Calvin E. Stowe, a professor of Biblical literature at Lane, and a friend of the familyCalvin E. Stowe was a plain man with many eccentricities who was often depressed. Orphaned at the age of six, Stowe was an apprentice in a paper mill, but he still managed to put himself through college at Bowdoin College and Andover Theological Seminary. Calvin was distinguished in his own way, and he had been valedictorian of his class at Bowdoin, and a professor of Greek at Dartmouth College. Harriet and Calvin had many problems in the first few years of their marriage which involved "...two complicated people getting along..." and was compounded by financial hardships, and the birth of five children in eight years. Calvin was often depressed, and Harriet believed that instead of sliding into moods he should get to work because it was their duty to be happy. The couple had a Puritanical conscientiousness, and they would work at their marriage and express their dissatisfaction (through letters while they were separated) in order to try and determine why they were not as happy as they "ought to be." Then in 1836 Harriet gave birth to twins named Harriet Beecher and Eliza Tyler, and in 1838 she bore a son named Henry Ellis. "She saw her maternity as sacredly sacrificial," but she found it difficult to sustain her "redemptive holiness" with a house full of small children, an inadequate income, and a critical mother-in-law. While writing a letter to a friend, Harriet described herself as "a mere drudge with few ideas beyond babies and housekeeping" even though she had some pride in her many maternal and...

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