Please join us tomorrow evening, Tuesday, May 24th, at 7:30 p.m. for “Igniting the War: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Antislavery Politics, and the Rise of Lincoln.” Dr. David S. Reynolds, Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will draw on materials from his forthcoming book, Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America (to be released in June 2011, but will be available for sale at tomorrow night’s program!). Further information and directions are available online here.
Describing why he pursued this project, Reynolds commented:
“I chose to write about a book about Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin because I felt the full story about this landmark novel–its roots, its impact on the Civil War, and its long-term influence–had never been told. My book shows that this novel had an influence on American race relations and on progressive movements abroad unmatched by any other work of imaginative literature. Also, the novel’s influence on many aspects of culture–theater, music, films, advertising, and mass merchandising–is immense.”
AAS collections offer insight into the “long-term influence” of Uncle Tom’s Cabin that Reynolds explores in Mightier Than the Sword. Of course, the Society owns numerous copies of nineteenth-century editions of the novel printed in English. But readers can also call for copies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin published in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and Welsh. Thanks to the generous gift of James F. O’Gorman in 2009, the Society also owns a variety of twentieth-century editions of Stowe’s work. In addition to an extensive collection of books, the Graphic Arts department houses lithographs that depict scenes from the book, playbills that advertise productions of a stage version of the story, and even a set of playing cards that feature illustrations of the main characters.
- Over 120 AAS online catalog records have the title Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- Over 240 AAS online catalog records have the keywords Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Dr. Reynolds has published a number of books on nineteenth-century American literature and history. Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography, published in 1995, received the Bancroft Prize. He is also the author of Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, Beneath the American Renaissance, and John Brown, Abolitionist.
AAS is pleased that “Igniting the War” is the 2011 James Russell Wiggins Lecture in the History of the Book in American Culture. Named for the James Russell Wiggins (1903-2000), this annual lecture honors the former chairman of the Society (1970-1977) and editor of the Washington Post.