Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly (with laid in signatures)
Boston: John P. Jewett & Company, 1852.
Boston: John P. Jewett & Company, 1852. First edition. A Fine set, each book with a small inscribed card laid in. The first book with very minor spotting to the cloth and a few leaves with very minor foxing. The second book with a slight tear in the cloth at the front joint and a small nick at the bottom of the spine. A small stain on the title page, otherwise the internal contents of the second book are largely without fault. A set that's clearly never been read and one that has been tucked away with great care for many years, quite exceptional condition for this set. The first book with the calling card of Miss C. H. Goodale on which the author has written: "Trust in the Lord And do good A sure way to attain happiness here & forever from Harriet Beecher Stowe February 27, 1888." The second book with a small card inscribed: "Very Truly Yours Harriet Beecher Stowe Mandarin December 2, 1881." Housed in matching custom slipcases with chemises.
Perhaps the most influential social novel in American history. In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which mandated that escaped slaves had to be returned to their owners upon capture, even if they were discovered in a free state. Stowe began her book as a protest to this law – and it would go on to become the most popular novel of the 19th century. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin exploded like a bombshell. To those engaged in fighting slavery it appeared as an indictment of all the evils inherent the system they opposed; to the pro-slavery forces it was a slanderous attack on ‘the Southern way of life’… the social impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the United States was greater than that of any book before or since.” (Printing and the Mind of Man) Indeed, the reaction to the book was so widespread, that it would inspire stage shows, plays, and even inspire pro-slavery counter-works, such as Aunt Phillis’s Cabin and The Planter’s Northern Bride. An apocryphal story of the time claimed that upon meeting Stowe, Abraham Lincoln said: “So this is the little lady who started this great war.”
“It is scarcely necessary to give in this place and in detail the plot of Mrs. Stowe's striking production; for striking and meritorious it undoubtedly is. The lady has great skill in the delineation of character; her hand is vigorous and firm, her mastery over human feeling is unquestionable, and her humorous efforts are unimpeachable.” (Contemporary Review in The London Times) Fine (Item #1536)