Published in 1873 in New York, The New Housekeeper’s Manual was written by Catharine Esther Beecher and her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, two of the most influential women writers and activists of their time. Both women exerted profound influence on American letters and on the shape of American domestic life and educational reform. The book combines two works by the sisters in one volume. The American Woman’s Home: Or Principles of Domestic Science describes kitchen and home design, coping with kitchen ...
Published in 1873 in New York, The New Housekeeper’s Manual was written by Catharine Esther Beecher and her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, two of the most influential women writers and activists of their time. Both women exerted profound influence on American letters and on the shape of American domestic life and educational reform. The book combines two works by the sisters in one volume. The American Woman’s Home: Or Principles of Domestic Science describes kitchen and home design, coping with kitchen appliances and newly invented gadgets, cooking healthful food and drink, caring for the sick with medical recipes, and gardening with plants and domestic animals. The Handy Cook-Book is a “complete, condensed guide to wholesome, economical, and delicious cooking with nearly 500 choice and tested recipes.” The authors assert that their extensive manual was designed specifically for middle-class housewives, versus others written for women with money and servants. It includes housekeeping information and dishes for every occasion that the practical-minded housewife might need. The New Housekeeper’s Manual was well received and had over 25 printings in 25 years. This edition of The New Housekeeper’s Manual was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes
Catharine Esther Beecher was one of the most influential social reformers of her time, and she practically invented the science of home economics. Beecher did not support women’s suffrage, believing that a woman’s domain was home and duty to family and that through this work, as opposed to active political involvement, women could influence society with feminine values. She actively promoted education, specifically for women, as well as home economics for housewives. Beecher was a prolific writer and among other works wrote Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book, and with her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home. Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author, a national celebrity in her day. Her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin depicted life under slavery for African Americans, using the powerful symbols of home and kitchen to expose the immorality of slavery. The novel reached millions as a novel and play, influencing the abolitionist cause in America and Britain and energizing 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. Although Stowe agreed with her sister on the role of education for women and the worth and dignity of women’s labor, she disagreed with Catharine on the extent to which women should engage in politics, and she approved of women’s suffrage.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born on June 14, 1811, in Litchfield, Connecticut, to Lyman Beecher, a Calvinist preacher and activist in the antislavery movement, and Roxana Foote, a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was four years old. Precocious and independent as a child, Stowe enrolled in the seminary run by her eldest sister, Catharine, where she received a traditionally "male" education. At the age of twenty-one, she moved to Cincinnati to join her father who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary, and in 1936 she married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a professor at the seminary and an ardent critic of slavery. The Stowes supported the Underground Railroad and housed several fugitive slaves in their home. They eventually moved to Brunswick, Maine, where Calvin taught at Bowdoin College.
In 1850 congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law, prohibiting assistance to fugitives. Stowe was moved to present her objections on paper, and in June 1851 the first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin a appeared in the antislavery journal National Era. The forty-year-old mother of seven children sparked a national debate and, as Abraham Lincoln is said to have noted, a war.
Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly met with mixed reviews when it appeared in book form in 1852 but soon became an international bestseller. Some critics dismissed it as abolitionist propaganda, while others hailed it as a masterpiece. The great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy praised Uncle Tom's Cabin as "flowing from love of God and man." Stowe presented her sources to substantiate her claims in A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin: Presenting the Original Facts and Documents Upon Which It Is Based, published in 1853. Another antislavery novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp, appeared in 1856 but was received with neither the notoriety nor the success of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Stowe fueled another controversy in The True Story of Lady Byron's Life (1869), in which she accused the poet Lord Byron of having an incestuous love affair with his half sister, Lady Byron. She also took up the topic of domestic culture in works that include The New Housekeeper's Manual (1873), written with her sister Catharine. Stowe died on July 1, 1896, at age eighty-five, in Hartford, Connecticut.
Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Good To Know
After its publication in 1852,Uncle Tom's Cabin sold more copies than any other book up to that point, with the exception of the Bible.
When it was becoming a sensation around the world, Uncle Tom's Cabin was smuggled into Russia, in Yiddish to evade the czarist censor.
Between 1853 and 1859, Stowe made several trips to Europe, and forged friendships with fellow writers George Eliot and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.