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First edition, first issue of Beecher Stowe's seminal text, signed by her inspiration for Uncle Tom, Rev. Josiah Henson.
“In the emotion-charged atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century America Uncle Tom's Cabin exploded like a bombshell. To those engaged in fighting slavery it appeared as an indictment of all the evils inherent in the system they opposed; to the pro-slavery forces it was a slanderous attack on 'the Southern way of life.' Whatever its weakness as a literary work -— structural looseness and excess of sentiment among them — the social impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin on the United States was greater than of any book before or since” (PMM).
Published at the end of March 1852, 5000 copies of the first issue were published, with a second issue of an additional 5000 copies published on the first of April. By the middle of the month, both had been exhausted, with the publisher writing in the National Era: "Three paper mills are constantly at work, manufacturing the paper, and three power presses are working twenty-four hours per day, in printing it, and more than one hundred book-binders are incessantly plying their trade to bind them, and still it has been impossible, as yet, to supply the demand." By mid-October, 120,000 copies had been sold.
The Stowe autograph letter, signed, inserted into this set is to her publisher James Osgood concerning an illustrated edition published by Houghton, Osgood, and Co. in 1878, reading in part: “Would it be any injury to delay the issuing of the book to the 13th of Jany — the reason is that Thursday I sail from Florida and should be out of the way of the noise of it. I am sick and tired of the fuss of the press that I want to escape it altogether. — There are three corrections that must be made in the plate proofs and I must trust you to see them done immediately ...”.
Grolier American 61.
Winship, “Uncle Tom's Cabin: History of the Book in the 19th-Century United States” presentation at the Uncle Tom's Cabin in the Web of Culture conference (June 2007).
Wear consistent with age and use.