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Southworth & Hawes
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Daguerreotype, 1/4 plate
10.8 x 8.3 cm. (4 1/4 x 3 1/4 ins)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937, Accession Number: 37.14.40
This quarter-plate daguerreotype of the American author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was probably made around the time of the publication of her influential novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). The enormously successful book, which the deeply religious Stowe maintained was the result of a vision from God, was instrumental in focusing antislavery sentiment in the North prior to the Civil War. Charmingly paired with a delicate potted plant in a scene evoking a quiet domestic interior, Stowe appears small and rather demure-a surprisingly mild depiction of a woman known for the power of her literary voice, and for her passionate espousal of abolition.