Last week I shared about my 2011 visit to Mark Twain’s house. Just in case you missed, click here.
Right next door to Twain’s house is the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. As a history nerd and bookworm this was a pure delight. Actually it was almost overwhelming for me, but delightfully so. After the tour of Mark Twain’s place we walked over to the Stowe house and signed up for the 2pm tour.
Stowe became famous after publishing Uncle Tom’s Cabin during the years 1851-1852. It was published in a serial format in the weekly newspaper the National Era. According to our guide, initially it wasn’t supposed to be so long, but due to the story’s popularity Stowe continued releasing more installments. The novel had a tremendous impact on many people and changed how some Americans felt about slavery. If you haven’t read this work I highly recommend the novel not only for its historical impact, but it’s an entertaining and emotional novel. The book’s impact was felt worldwide and in the visitors center you can see covers of the novel from all over.
The success of the novel was also a financial success for Stowe and allowed her to write for a living. I learned that Stowe’s first check was actually written to her husband since married woman during her time didn’t have rights to their own earnings. Fortunately for Stowe, her husband was liberal and not jealous of her success and didn’t keep the money just for himself. I found this interesting since Stowe’s book was critical of slavery and as a woman, she didn’t have many more rights than slaves.
The house is not as fancy as Twain’s. However, our guide pointed out that when Twain moved into his Hartford home he was younger and just starting out while Stowe had already acquired fame and wealth. Also she was older and had downsized to a less elaborate home.
One aspect of the tour surprised me since I didn’t have any knowledge of Stowe’s other skills. I learned that Stowe was also an artist even though she did not have any formal training. She completed many delightful floral paintings, some of which hang in the home and can be seen on the tour. No photographs are allowed inside the home, so I can’t share any with you. However, if you find yourself in Hartford some day, I would suggest this tour and the Mark Twain tour. Both are informative and well worth it.
Favorite Stowe quotes:
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”
“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”
“Any mind that is capable of a real sorrow is capable of good.”
“It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done.”
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
My good friend Hilary released her second novel. I’m so excited to read it.
Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.
Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.
In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.
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