of a Transformative Writer

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center holds the largest collection of materials related to Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the influential anti-slavery novel and 19th century best seller, and multiple other books. Decorative arts, works of art, furniture, memorabilia, rare manuscripts and print material, images and visual media –- 228,000 items — illustrate the lives and times of Stowe and her family.


Collections Highlights

Collections highlight significant 19th century subjects:

  • Women’s history including suffrage
  • Abolition
  • African American history
  • U.S. racial history and attitudes
  • Decorative arts and architecture

Recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities as “critical to American history and culture,”
the Stowe Center’s historic Collections are the foundation for compelling and provocative programs
that engage and inspire.

The Collection is open by appointment only from 9:30 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday. To schedule, contact the Director of Collections and Research at 860.522.9258 ext. 313 or research@stowecenter.org.

Library and Archives Collection

The Library and Archives contain more than 12,000 books, 4,000 pamphlets, and 180,000 manuscripts, as well as 12,000 images — photographs, prints, broadsides, posters and drawings.

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe’s personal correspondence, including the E. Bruce Kirkham Collection of annotated Stowe letters (1822-1895), sketchbooks, diaries, journals, and literary manuscripts.
  • First editions of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s works and the Uncle Tom’s Cabin collection which includes most American and foreign language editions, interpretation and criticism, and pamphlets, broadsides, and images of Stowe’s famous anti-slavery novel from 1851 to the present.
  • Beecher/Stowe family correspondence and works by Lyman BeecherCatharine E. BeecherHenry Ward BeecherIsabella Beecher HookerThomas K. Beecher, and Calvin E. Stowe, among others.
  • Personal correspondence, diaries, journals and literary manuscripts by Stowe’s Nook Farm neighbors.
  • Specialized collections on 19th century women’s history, especially the votes for women movement, 19th century slavery, and 19th century architecture and decorative arts, especially of the Greater Hartford area.
  • Letters from William Lloyd Garrison, the Duchess of Sutherland, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John G. Whittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.
  • Rare works by Lydia Huntley Sigourney, William H. Gillette, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
  • Photographs associated with Stowe, Nook Farm residents, Katharine Seymour Day, members of the Beecher family, and 19th and 20th century Hartford architecture.
Artifact Collection

The Stowe Center’s material culture collection is rich and varied:

  • Household furnishings from the Beecher and Stowe extended families
  • Paintings and drawings
  • Statuary
  • Decorative arts created or acquired by Stowe

Highlights include paintings created by Stowe, memorabilia inspired by Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the dining table where Stowe worked on Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Accessing the Collections

Collections Research Hours

Research hours are 9:30 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Friday by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, call 860.522.9258 ext. 313 or email the Director of Collections and Research.


Plan Your Visit

The Reading Room is located in the Katharine Seymour Day House, next door to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, 77 Forest Street, Hartford, CT 06105. Directions and parking may be found here, at the bottom of the page.

At your first research appointment, you’ll need to register and provide photo identification. Lockers are available for bags, cases, jackets, or valuables. Staff will explain the catalogs and assist with filling out call sheets and finding materials.

Laptop and tablet computers are welcome; electrical outlets and a wireless network are available.

Digital photography without flash is permitted for research purposes.

Please note the Noncommercial Photography Policy.


Rights & Reproductions

Digital photographs or images from the collections are available, unless restricted. Fees are based on the type of the image and its intended use. After selecting an image, contact the Director of Collections and Research to start the image use process.

Photocopies for research purposes are available for a fee unless copyright or physical condition restricts.


Research Guides and Finding Aids

Manuscript Collection Summary
Harriet Beecher Stowe Papers in the HBSC Collection
19th Century Women’s History
African Diaspora History Materials
Manuscript Collection finding aids/Connecticut’s Archives Online
Stowe Center Library printed materials are included in FindIt, Connecticut’s Statewide Library Catalog.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture is an archive of Uncle Tom’s Cabin-related material that includes the Stowe Center collections, from first editions of Stowe’s novel to souvenirs for the home and theater production posters. The site is hosted by the University of Virginia.

The National Era was the weekly publication that first published Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.