With the intention of awakening sympathy for oppressed slaves and encouraging Northerners to disobey the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) began writing her vivid sketches of slave sufferings and family separations. The first version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin appeared serially between June 1851 and April 1852 in the National Era, an antislavery paper published in Washington, D.C. The first book edition appeared in March 1852 and sold more than 300,000 copies in the first year. This best-selling novel of the nineteenth century was extremely influential in fueling antislavery sentiment during the decade preceding the Civil War.
In her copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) in 1903 acknowledges progress made in the last half-century, but regrets that blacks are still not treated fairly. Shown are the book plate, title page, and an inscription from Anthony.