Uncle Tom's Cabin: Early and Notable Editions

Uncle Tom's Cabin Banner

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, one of the most influential books in American history, was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) to inform readers of the appalling realities of American slavery. First published in March 1852, the novel quickly became an international bestseller, second only in sales at that time to the Bible.

This collection shows a selection of the early and notable editions of the novel in the Libraries' collections, as well as its interesting publishing history. First published by John P. Jewett & Company, it changed ownership among U.S. publishers at least four times before the copyright expired in 1893. Each publisher also attempted to capitalize on its popularity by publishing new and “special” editions, where new elements, illustrations, and commentary were added. As a result, the novel was a bestseller for well over 30 years after it was first published and has continued to inspire numerous other publications and works of art.

Our exhibition Uncle Tom's Cabin: Early and Notable Editions is on view at the National Museum of African American History and Culture from February 28, 2020 – May 6, 2021.

Cover of Aunt Phillis's cabin

Aunt Phillis's cabin

Eastman, Mary H.
Lippincott, Grambo
1852
Cover of La cabaña de Tom

La cabaña de Tom

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Cover of Uncle Tom's cabin

Uncle Tom's cabin

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
S.W. Partridge
[between 1905 and 1909]
Cover of Uncle Tom's cabin

Uncle Tom's cabin

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Mershon Co
[1910?]
Cover of Uncle Tom's cabin

Uncle Tom's cabin

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
A.L. Burt
[19--]
Cover of Uncle Tom's cabin, or, Life among the lowly

Uncle Tom's cabin, or, Life among the lowly

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
A.L. Burt
[1912?]
Cover of Uncle Tom's cabin, or, Life among the lowly

Uncle Tom's cabin, or, Life among the lowly

Stowe, Harriet Beecher,; Baker & Smith,; John P. Jewett and Company (Boston, Mass.),; Jewett, Proctor, and Worthington,; Boston Stereotype Foundry,
Jewett, Proctor & Worthington
1853