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Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, life among the lowly by  HARRIET BEECHER STOWE - First Edition - 1852 - from 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop (SKU: 32820241)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, life among the lowly

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, life among the lowly


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About This Item

FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING. "These books are of such paramount historical importance that it is difficult to evaluate them as literature" (Merle Johnson). "Three thousand copies were sold on the day of publication, and before its first anniversary, over 300,000 copies were sold in America … More than twenty London editions appeared in 1852, so the English audience must have been as large as the American. No other American novel has been translated into so many foreign languages" (Grolier/American).

It is no wonder that this extraordinary book evoked visceral reactions. In the South Stowe was vilified. The Southern Literary Messenger labeled the book, "criminal prostitution of the high functions of imagination." Among the abolitionists she was a hero, and her fame knew no bounds. Stowe visited Lincoln at the White House in 1862, and the President is said to have exclaimed, "So this is the little lady who made this big war."

There is no doubt that Uncle Tom's Cabin is one of the most influential novels ever published. "It is a great human document that stripped away the protective atmosphere from the sacred institution [slavery], and laid bare its elementary injustice" (Parrington, The Romantic Revolution in America).

Provenance: the noted collection of Frederick W. Skiff, with his bookplate.

Printing and the Mind of Man 332. Grolier 100 English Books 91. Grolier 100 American Books 61. BAL 19343.

Two volumes. Original brown cloth gilt. Very minor fraying at foot of spine, minor stains. About fine. Cloth case.


In Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe, the title character Uncle Tom is a long-suffering slave, loyal to both his faith and his master. Presented with an opportunity to escape, he instead chooses to remain in slavery to avoid embarrassing his master. After being sold to a slave trader, Tom suffers brutal treatment and is eventually beaten to death for his refusal to betray his friends — made to represent an ideal of true Christianity. Enormously popular (it was the best-selling novel of the 19th century) and influential, it’s publication in 1852 was instrumental in bringing visibility to the cruel reality of slavery. In more recent years, it has come under considerable criticism for its portrayal of meekness and subservience and the phrase “Uncle Tom” is sometimes used as an epithet for someone seen as overly subservient. 

Read more: Identifying first editions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, life among the lowly


On Mar 31 2020, a reader said:
Excellent book to gain empathy and insight into the enslaved pathos, struggle and plight! This book presents well designed ideas to ennoble and elivate the human race as brothers, and sisters of a common God, and Father of us all.

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, life among the lowly
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19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop

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Stevenson, Maryland
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About 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop

Important books, manuscripts, and photographs representing mankind's greatest achievements.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former... [more]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [more]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [more]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [more]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [more]
Bibliography of American Literature (commonly abbreviated as BAL in descriptions) is the quintessential reference work for any... [more]

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