Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Abolitionist and Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe published more than 30 books, but it was her best-selling antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin that brought her worldwide fame and a very secure place in history. She also wrote biographies, children’s text books, and advice books on homemaking and childrearing. The informal style of her writing enabled her to reach audiences that more scholarly works would not. Early Years Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut to the Rev. Lyman Beecher and Roxanna Foote Beecher; the sixth of 11 children. She was called Hattie by her brothers and sisters. Roxanna Beecher died when Harriet was only five years old, and her oldest sister Catharine became…

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The Fighting 69th

A Regiment in the Famous Irish Brigade When the Civil War broke out, thousands of Irishmen joined the Union Army. Three all-Irish infantry regiments were raised in New York City, and these units would become the core of the Irish Brigade: the 63rd, 69th, and 88th Infantry Regiments, New York State Volunteers. Confederate General Robert E. Lee gave them the nickname ‘Fighting 69th’; that designation continued in later wars. General Thomas Meagher and the Irish Brigade, Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 2, 1862 The Fighting 69th’s battle flag appears next to the U.S. flag. Fighting 69th, the Paintings In 1991, artist Mort Kunstler had accepted a commission from the U.S. Army War College to paint Raise the Colors and Follow Me!, which…

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Harriet Morrison Irwin

Harriet Morrison Irwin (1828-1897) of Charlotte, North Carolina holds a special place in American history as the first woman to patent an architectural design. The structure she created in 1869 was a hexagonal house. She and her husband built at least one version in Charlotte, and she may have designed other hexagonal houses. In addition to her work in architecture, Irwin wrote primarily nonfiction articles related to history and progress. This 1949 image shows Harriet Morrison Irwin’s two-story hexagonal house on the right. West Fifth Street looking toward the intersection of Irwin Avenue in Charlotte. Early Years Harriet Abigail Morrison was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1828 to Mary Graham Morrison and Dr. Robert Hall Morrison – founder and…

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The Forten Sisters

The Forten Women of Philadelphia The Fortens were one of the most prominent black families in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Wealthy sailmaker James Forten and his wife Charlotte Vandine Forten headed the family; their daughters were: Margaretta, Harriet, and Sarah. The Fortens were active abolitionists who took part in founding and financing at least six abolitionist organizations. The Forten sisters were educated in private schools and by private tutors. Image: Sisters by Keith Mallett Margaretta Forten (1806-1875) Margaretta was an African American abolitionist and suffragist. She worked as a teacher for at least thirty years. During the 1840s she taught at a school run by Sarah Mapps Douglass; in 1850 she opened her own school. Margaretta never married and lived with her…

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Rebecca Pennell

Pioneer for Women’s Equal Rights Rebecca Pennell in early years Early Years When Rebecca Pennell, born in 1821, was four years old, her father died and her mother moved back to her childhood home in Franklin, Massachusetts. Rebecca’s mother was the sister of the prominent educational reformer Horace Mann and had a strong relationship with him. Mann took a particular interest in the education of his nieces and nephew after their father’s death, and provided them with financial support. Rebecca remembered Mann as a loving figure during her childhood years, someone she and her siblings admired. Women’s Education in the 19th Century The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were a time of great change in terms of the evolving…

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Underground Railroad in Massachusetts

Jackson Homestead The Jackson homestead is a Federalist-style house at 527 Washington Street in Newton, Massachusetts was built in 1809. William Jackson was an abolitionist who allowed runaway slaves to take shelter there. Image: The Jackson family in 1846

Civil War Nurses in the South

Nurses for the Confederacy Augusta Jane Evans One of the most popular American novelists of the nineteenth century, Augusta Jane Evans (1835-1909) became the first female author in the United States to earn more than $100,000 for her work. Although Evans’ first novel was a failure, her second, Beulah (1859), was a resounding success; it sold 22,000 copies in the first nine months and received high praise from reviewers. With her literary success, Evans was able to support her family. She purchased a house, Georgia Cottage, which still stands on Springhill Avenue in Mobile, Alabama, where she spent the remainder of her life. During the American Civil War, Evans devoted herself to the Confederate cause as a volunteer nurse and…

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Sara Plummer Lemmon

Women in Science: California Botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon After marrying botanist and Civil War veteran John Lemmon, Sara sold her library in Santa Barbara, California and traveled to Arizona for their honeymoon. Before returning home to California, Sara discovered and cataloged for the first time a variety of species native to the mountains and surrounding areas. Image: Sara Plummer opened the Lending Library and Stationery Depot in March 1871. Credit: Santa Barbara Independent Early Years Sara Plummer was born in New Gloucester, Maine, on September 3, 1836. She attended teachers college in Worcester, Massachusetts, and then moved to New York City, where she taught art at Grammar School No. 14 and studied at the Cooper Union. Miss Plummer also served…

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Colonel Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts

Mustering In The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was the first volunteer black regiment raised in the North. The ranks were filled with former slaves and free blacks. The 54th was initially formed at Readville, Massachusetts in late February 1863 and then were mustered into service from March 30, 1863 through May 13, 1863. On May 28, 1863, their commander Colonel Robert Gould Shaw led the 54th in a triumphant parade through Boston to the docks, and then the regiment departed on the steamer De Molay for Hilton Head, South Carolina on May 28, arriving there June 3. Col. Robert Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts by Mort Kunstler Assault on Fort Wagner Initially assigned to manual labor details, the 54th did…

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Maria Mestre de los Dolores Andreu

First Female Lighthouse Keeper in Florida A lighthouse is a tower that emits a flashing beam of light from a system of lamps and lenses. They mark dangerous coastlines, shoals, or reefs, and guide pilots at sea into safe harbors. In the 19th century, they were vital lifelines to maintaining safety at sea. Image: St. Augustine Lighthouse, home of Maria Mestre de los Dolores Andreu Built in 1700; aided mariners for 162 years. Image shows the various stages of the lighthouse structure. Photograph courtesy National Archives Backstory Don Juan Ponce de Leon discovered La Florida, the Land of Flowers, in 1513. Approximately fifty years later, Spain attempted to colonize Florida by dispatching Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles to the area….

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