Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) depicted life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14, 1811. She was the middle daughter of three, born to outspoken religious leader Lyman Beecher and Roxana Foote, a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was only five years old. Her older sister was the educator and author, Catharine Beecher, and her younger sister was Isabella, who married the attorney John Hooker and had a family. They had seven brothers, all of whom became ministers: including Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, and Edward Beecher.
Harriet enrolled in the seminary (girls' school) run by her sister Catharine, where she received a traditionally "male" education in the classics, including study of languages and mathematics. At the age of 21, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to join her father, who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary. There, she also joined the Semi-Colon Club, a literary salon and social club whose members included the Beecher sisters, Caroline Lee Hentz, Salmon P. Chase, Emily Blackwell, and others.