Uncle Tom’s Cabin Begins Serialization – Today in History: June 5
Title page of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Title page of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852

On June 5, 1851, the first chapter of what would become the landmark novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin appeared in the National Era, an anti-slavery newspaper published in Washington, DC. This was the first appearance of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s passionate evocation of life in the American South under slavery, and when the book was published in March of 1852–after building a huge audience during its serialization–10,000 copies sold in the first week. National Era publisher Gamaliel Bailey was a physician and journalist, publishing an anti-slavery novel in a city where slavery was still legal and where his press offices had earlier been mobbed. A copy of that June 5th edition is a treasured object in the collections of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford.

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