What to know about the site:
Before she married, Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in the house with her father, Lyman Beecher, who lived there during his tenure as the first president of the Lane Theological Seminary. Beecher brought to this house and his large family, a prolific group of young religious leaders, educators, writers, and antislavery and women’s rights advocates. The Beecher family includes Harriet's sister, Catherine Beecher, an early female educator and writer who helped found numerous high schools and colleges for women; brother Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, a leader of the women’s suffrage movement and considered by some to be the most eloquent minister of his time; General James Beecher, a Civil War general who commanded the first African-American troops in the Union Army recruited from the South; and sister Isabella Beecher Hooker, a women’s rights advocate.
The Beechers lived in Cincinnati for nearly 20 years, from 1832 to the early 1850s, before returning east. In this house, Harriet married Calvin E. Stowe, a professor at Lane Seminary, and began her professional writing career, using richly-drawn characters to tell moral tales. Shortly after leaving Cincinnati in 1851-1852, Stowe authored Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a fictionalized popular account of the pain slavery imposed on its victims and of the difficult struggles of slaves to escape and travel on the Underground Railroad. Published just after the draconian Fugitive Slave Act was enacted by the US Congress in 1850, the book made Stowe a household name in the United States at a time when women did not vote, have legal rights, or even speak in public meetings. It was the best-selling novel in the nineteenth century and has been published in over 75 languages. Uncle Tom’s Cabin became an important part of the social fabric and thought that eventually caused the Civil War to break out and the southern slaves to be emancipated by President Abraham Lincoln, effective in 1863. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a remarkable example of how one person can inspire change to improve the lives of millions of people.
In addition to the focus on Stowe, the site also includes a look into the lives of the family, friends, and colleagues of the Beecher-Stowe family, the Lane Seminary, where her father worked, and the abolitionist, women’s rights and Underground Railroad movements in which these historical figures participated in the 1830s to 1860s. Because the Beecher family assisted freedom seekers while living here, the house is also a recognized site on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
The Stowe House offers cultural events and programming and the House and grounds are available to groups for rental for meetings and special events. The adjoining grounds are maintained by the Cincinnati Park Board. The site is operated by experienced volunteers. We are also seeking new volunteers to assist in a wide variety of activities at the Stowe House. Training is available. Please contact the volunteer coordinator if you are interested in helping to preserve the Stowe House and its heritage for future generations.