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Uncle Tom’s Cabin: First Published Serially in The National Era (June 1851)

Posted on 06/06/2013

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Before Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel appeared in book form in March 1852, it was published as a serial in The National Era, an abolitionist newspaper printed weekly in the nation’s capital. The first installment appeared this week in 1851 on the paper’s front page, beginning in the top left column:

“Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly” appeared serially over the next 39 weeks, 40 installments in all. Its surprising popularity led book publisher John P. Jewett to propose that Stowe consider putting her serial between hard covers. Although Stowe wondered whether it would find readers this way, she agreed, and her hugely influential work became not only the bestselling novel of the 19th century, but also the century's second bestselling book after the Bible.

For more information about Early American Newspapers, which now includes the option to acquire titles by decade or era, please contact

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