Voices from the Beinecke Library

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Context and Resources

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Context and Resources
Timeline excerpted from Kendra Hamilton’s “The Strange Career of Uncle Tom: on the 150th Anniversary of the Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Scholars Reflect on the Legacy of the Groundbreaking Novel and its Author Harriet Beecher Stowe,” in Black Issues in Higher Education, June 6, 2002, 19.8, p. 22. 
Selected titles in the Beinecke Library have been added, preceded by asterisks with call numbers in bold. NOTE: this is an incomplete list; many additional resources may be found by searching Orbis.
1850 Passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, requiring all citizens to return runaway slaves to their owners, becomes a major catalyst for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s antislavery writing.
1851 Uncle Tom’s Cabin is serialized in The National Era, an abolitionist newspaper.
*The National Era, 5 June 1851.  Zza Zn 215 v. 5
1852 Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published as a two-volume book, precipitating a wave of “anti-Tom” novels defending the South, an enormously profitable merchandising movement and stage adaptations that owed far more to the blackface minstrel tradition than to the ideas in the book.
*Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or, Life among the Lowly. Boston: J. P. Jewett, 1852. Za St78 852
View in Beinecke Digital Library: UTC First Edition
*Criswell, Robert. Uncle Tom’s Cabin Contrasted with Buckingham Hall, the Planter’s Home: or A Fair View of Both Sides of the Slavery Question. New York: Fanshaw, 1852. JWJ Za C868 852u
*“The Game of Uncle Tom,” card game. Rhode Island: V. S .W. Parkhurst, 1852.Cary Playing Card Collection, USA 185
*“The Death of St. Clare: Little Eva’s Father, founded upon a scene in Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” poem by M. A. Collier, adapted to a favorite melody. Boston: Oliver Ditson, [1852]. Shirley +84
*Howard, F. “Uncle Tom’s Glimpse of Glory.” Boston: Wade, c1852. Za1 +G1 Stowe
*Smith, W. L. G. Life at the South, or, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as it is: Being Narratives, Scenes, and Incidents in the Real “Life of the Lowly.” Buffalo: G. H. Derby and Co., 1852. JWJ Za Sm68 852L
*Aiken, George L. Uncle Tom’s Cabin: or, Life Among the Lowly, A Domestic Drama in Six Acts. New York: S. French, [185-?]. 
*Emilio, M. “Little Eva: Song (Little Eva, Uncle Tom’s Guardian Angel).” Boston: Jewett, c1852. Za St78 +G852E
*Waddell, James A. "Uncle Tom's cabin" reviewed; or, American society vindicated from the aspersions of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe Printed at the Office of the "Southern Weekly Post,"    1852.   Accession Number 27184
*Porcelain figures: Topsy & Eva [Staffordshire, England : s.n., circa 1852-1860?]. Art Storage 925
View in the Beinecke Digial Library: Art Storage 925
1853 A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published to corroborate the facts of the novel; George Aiken’s unauthorized stage version takes the nation by storm.
*Stowe, Harriet Beecher. A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Presenting the Original Facts and Documents upon which the Story is Founded. Together with Corroborative Statements Verifying the Truth of the Work. Boston, Jewett, 1853.  Za St78 853k                
*Little Eva: the Flower of the South. New York: Vincent L. Dill, [between 1853 and 1855?]. Shirley 1487 & 1488
*Low, Mary. A Peep into Uncle Tom’s Cabin with an Address by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, to the Children of England and America. Boston: J. P. Jewett, 1853. Za St78 853L
*Pictures and Stories from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Boston: J. P. Jewett, [1853?]. Za St78 F853
*Howard, G. “Eva to her Papa.” New York: Waters, c1853. Za St78 +G853J
* Porcelain jar decorated with two scenes from Uncle Tom's cabin [1853-1865?], Boston: Jewett, 1853.Art Storage 926 (pictured above)
View in the Beinecke Digital Library: Art Storage 926
1854 T. D. Rice, the man who “invented” the Jim Crow dance, plays Tom in a New York production.
*Rice, Tom. “Jim Crow: Come Listen All You Galls and Boys I's Jist from Tuckyhoe.” New York: E. Riley, [between 1819 and 1831].  2001 Folio S8 V4 R357 J5643
*Plate: Uncle Tom at home. [Staffordshire, England : s.n., 1855?]. Art Storage 927
 View in the Beinecke Digital Library: Art Storage 927
1856 The Dred Scott decision legalizes slavery in the territories; Stowe publishes her militant and neglected antislavery novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp.
1857 Sam Green, a free Black living in Maryland, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for owning a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and a map of Canada.
1861-65 The Civil War years see the rise of theatrical troupes that perform only Uncle Tom’s Cabin—popularly known as “Tommers” or “Tom Shows.”
*“Coming: the Standard Combination in the Great Moral Drama, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” [United States: s.n., between 1860 and 1865?] (Promotional booklet). Shirley 1489
1862 Stowe meets President Abraham Lincoln at the White House.
1862 The Emancipation Proclamation abolishes slavery in rebel territory.
*Uncle Tom & Eva. [United States? : s.n., ca. 1860-1880?] Staffordshire-style figurine of Uncle Tom and Eva, from Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's cabin. Art Storage 940
*Platt, Edmund H. Pendleton. 42 Hand-made Uncle Tom's Cabin cards, 1862 January 11. PLAYING CARDS GEN 4
1865 The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery.
1866 The Ku Klux Klan begins its reign of terror in the South.
1868 The 14th Amendment makes citizens of the formerly enslaved.
1870 The 15th Amendment guarantees voting rights for the formerly enslaved.
*California Theatre, The Famous Drama in 6 Acts, Uncle Tom's Cabin! BrSides 2006 45 70
1876 The first African American performs the role of Uncle Tom in a production in Richmond, KY.
1877 Reconstruction ends with the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.
1878 Newspapers note five simultaneous productions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in London, all of them apparently thriving financially.
1880s Period sees the rise of elaborate spectacles in staging the play: “Double Mammouth” (sic) productions, inspired by the practice of combining two circus companies into a single “Mammouth” show; and the use of live animals, including bloodhounds, Great Danes and even, in one memorable staging of Eliza’s flight across the ice, alligators.
*Broadside: Coming soon! Parsons & Pool’s original Uncle Tom’s cabin and Tennessee Jubilee Singers [between 1870 and 1889] BrSides Folio 2004 2
*Holland, Annie Jefferson. The Refugees: A Sequel to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Austin: Privately Published, 1892.
Za St78 H892H
*[Collection of advertisements relating to Uncle Tom's cabin] 9 cards advertising Uncle Tom's cabin  ca. 1880s Accession Number 30654
1893 Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a featured attraction at the Chicago World’s Fair.
1896 Stowe dies in Hartford, Conn.; Plessy v. Ferguson legalizes segregation.
1890s An estimated 500 “Tom” companies are touring the United States.
*Topsy. New York: McLoughlin Brothers, Publishers, c1900. ACC 20040921-ac
1903 The first film version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is screened.
*Coming-- Ora Martin, Inc.-- Uncle Tom’s Cabin Under Big Tent [ca. 1900] BrSides Folio 2008 256
1909 NAACP is founded.
*John R. Neill, The Story of Topsy. 1908 Shirley 6637
1910 The first mixed-race companies perform Uncle Tom’s Cabin in New York City.
*Quigley Litho Co., Kansas City: catalog no. 56, [191-?] (featuring UTC illustrations) JWJ Za St78 J910Q
1914 An African-American actor plays Tom on screen for the first time.
1915 “Birth of a Nation” begins the modern film era and gives birth to a revivified Ku Klux Klan as a nationwide political force.
1923 The Duncan Sisters, Rosetta and Vivian, bring the play “Topsy and Eva” to vaudeville. By 1927, they will have played the roles 1,872 times. There are continuous revivals, on stage and television, until Rosetta’s death in 1959.
*Duncan Sisters. “Do Ra Mi.” [United States]: Thomas Wilkes, c1923.2001 Folio S8 V4 D912 D65 
*Duncan Sisters. “I Never had a Mammy.” New York: Irving Berlin, Inc., c1923. 2001 Folio S8 V4 D912 Ia1
*Duncan Sisters. “Just in Love with Me.” New York: Irving Berlin, Inc., c1923. 2001 Folio S8 V4 D912 J892 
*Duncan Sisters. “Rememb’ring New York.” New York: Irving Berlin, Inc., c1923. 2001 Folio S8 V4 D912 R283
1927 Number of Tom companies dwindles to 12; Universal Studios films a $1.2 million adaptation of the play.
*Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Illustrated by James Daugherty, New York: Coward McCann co. [c1929]. Za St78 852h
*Cummings, E. E. Tom. [New York: Arrow Editions, [1935]. (“ballet” based on Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Za C912 935t
*Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Illustrated by Miguel Covarrubuias. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1938. Za St78 +852J
View in Beinecke Digital Library: ZA St78+852J
*Wright, Richard. Uncle Tom’s Children: Four Novellas. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1938. JWJ Zan W936 938Ub
*Wright, Richard. Uncle Tom’s Children, Manuscripts.JWJ Mss 3 boxes 63 and 64
*Players Club. “The Players’ Twelfth Annual Revival: Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” [New York: The Marchbanks Press, 1933]. Za St78 +F933
1940s Complaints from the NAACP shut the “Tom Shows” down.
*Miller, Gilbert. “Harriet.” Play written by Florence Ryerson and Colin Clements, staged by Elia Kazan, and starring Helen Hayes as Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: Henry Miller’s Theatre, 1943-4. Za St78 +S1
*Hughes, Langston. Uncle Tom (Uncle Tom is a legend and a dream...) Drafts, typescript and carbon, corrected ca. 1948, n.d. and Uncle Tom (Within...) Drafts, typescript and carbon, n.d.
JWJ Mss 26 Box 386
*Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Introductory remarks and captions by Langston Hughes. New York: Dodd, Mead, [1952]. JWJ Zan H874 952s
*Hughes, Langston. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin Is Not An Uncle Tom Book, Read It And See.” Draft, carbon, corrected and printed version, [1952 May 24].JWJ Mss 26 Box 410      
*Hughes, Langston. “Cabin Known Around the World.” Draft, typescript and carbon, corrected ms, 1952.JWJ Mss 26 Box 289A   
*Hughes, Langston. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Opera.” Draft, typescript, corrected ms, 1955.JWJ Mss 26 Box 366
*Uncle Tom's Cabin / by Harriet Beecher Stowe; Classic Comics edition, by E. Goodman.Za St78 +H852G
1975 In the first Uncle Tom’s Cabin production of the modern era, New York producers return to the novel to create a “dignified” Tom.
1987 Showtime’s “politically correct” Uncle Tom’s Cabin stars Avery Brooks as Uncle Tom, Phylicia Rashad as Eliza, and Samuel L. Jackson as George.
*A la case de l'oncle Tom, cafés et thès. [Geneva, Switzerland : s.n., ca. 1986] sugar packet Shirley 5314
1990 The African-American playwright Robert Alexander deconstructs Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the landmark production, I Ain’t Yo’ Uncle.
*Alexander, Robert.  I Ain’t Yo’ Uncle: The New Jack Revisionist “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” From the stage adaptation by George Aiken of the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Woodstock, Ill.: Dramatic Publishing, 1996. JWJ Zan AL269 996H
Selected British Imprints Related to Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a Tale of Life among the Lowly. Preface by the Earl of Carlisle.  London: G. Routledge & Co., 1852.  Za St78 852Cc
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, London, 1853. Extra illustrated by Eugene Bauer. BEIN 2009 1819
View in Beinecke Digital Library: BEIN 2009 1819
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: John Cassell, 1852.  Za St78 852c 
Glover, Stephen. “George’s Song of Freedom.” London: Jefferys, c1853. Za St78 +G853H

Glover, S. “Eva’s Parting Words.” London: Jefferys, c1853. Za St78 +G853G

Glover, S. “Sleep My Child,Let No One Hear You.” London: Jefferys, c1852. Za St78 +G852G

Linley, George. “Evangeline: Ballad.” London: Chappell, 1852. Za St78 +G852L

Linley. G. “Topsy: I’s So Wicked.” London: Leader, [1852]. Za St78 +G852R

Linley, G. “Emmeline & Cassy: Duet.” London: Chappell, 1852. Za St78 +G852M
View in Beinecke Digital Library: Za St78 +G852M

Linley, G. “The Slave Mother: Ballad.” London: Chappell, 1852. Za St78 +G852P

Linley, G. “Eva: Ballad.” London: Chappell, 1852. Za St78 +G852Q

Nicholls, P. R. “Topsy’s Lament.” London: Tolkien, c1852. Za St78 +G852N
Additional Resources

The Adams & Westlake wire gauze, non-explosive oil stove ... [graphic]. United States: Adam and Westlake Manufacturing Company, ca. 1882] Trade card with image depicting Topsy, Uncle Tom and Eva on one side, advertisement text on the other. BrSides Box 2009 143

Onkel Tom's Hutte. Six numbered cards, issued as advertisements for "Liebig's Fleisch-Extract." [Germany? : Liebig's Extract of Meat Co., ca. 1890].  Za St78 J890P

Topsy Doll. Bruckner doll, made in U.S.A. A topsy-turvy doll with a Caucasian doll on one end and an African American doll on the opposite end. [New York? : E.I. Horsman Company?, between 1901 and 1924?].  JWJ Za St78 901B

La case de l'oncle Tom. Six numbered postcards depicting episodes from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's cabin; issued by the manufacturer of L'Extrait de viande Liebig to advertise the product. Antwerp: Liebig, 1904?  Za St78 J904C

A la case de l'oncle Tom, cafés et thès. Paper sugar packet [Geneva, Switzerland : s.n., ca. 1986]. Shirley 5314



Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
121 Wall Street | New Haven, CT 06511
Campus Map

Tel: (203) 432-2977    Fax: (203) 432-4047

USPS: Mailing Address and Information


Beinecke events & news email list subscription



Monday 10 am - 7 pm
Tuesday-Thursday 9 am - 7 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday (Exhibitions only) 12 pm - 5 pm
Sunday (Exhibitions only) 12 pm - 4 pm

Holiday Schedule and Closed Collections Schedule