Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe, c. 1870

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) was a school teacher, author, and ardent abolitionist who wrote, in 1852, the best-selling novel of the 19th century: Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book, which expressively portrayed the cruelties of slavery, became a touchstone of the abolitionist movement, bolstering popular Northern support for abolition and outraging southerners. Stowe wrote more than twenty books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. Among her other most famous works include A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853), The Minister’s Wooing (1859), and Old Town Folks (1869). 

How We Kept Thanksgiving at Oldtown

Harriet Beecher Stowe

In this selection from her partially autobiographical and partially fictional account of “New England in its seed-bed,” before the hot suns of modern progress had developed its sprouting germs” (published in 1869), Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96), author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), remembers, perhaps with some embellishment, what Thanksgiving was like in her childhood, when the family gathered in the home of her grandmother for “the king and high priest of all festivals.”