Uncle Tom as Children's Book

    According to Stowe, the first audience Uncle Tom had were her children, to whom (because her husband was out of town) she read the scene of Tom's death shortly after she wrote it (see pages 148-49 of HER SON'S 1890 BIOGRAPHY). After the last installment of the novel appeared in The National Era Stowe wrote a FAREWELL TO READERS in which she addressed her words "in particular" to "the dear little children who have followed her story" in its serial publication. And we know that in many northern families the novel was read aloud to children of all ages. But there were also editions of the novel designed specifically for children.

    Based on internal evidence, the first book listed below was originally produced in England (by T. Nelson & Sons in 1853), but at least one line was revised for American readers, and it was brought out by Stowe's own publishers, so presumably it had her blessing. In library catalogues Stowe herself is identified as the author, but although the "authoress" mentioned in the prefatory material draws long prose sections from Uncle Tom's Cabin, the poems and the whole book are certainly the work of someone besides Stowe, although that person remains identified only as the "authoress." "Aunt Mary's Peep" also was written in England (and "Aunt Mary" was probably the daughter of publisher Sampson Low), but again the fact that this volume was also published by Jewett means it must have been marketed and read in America.

    The remaining books all came out after Stowe's copyright lapsed in 1892, and thus adapt her novel for not just a different audience but also a very different cultural moment. The Young Folks' Uncle Tom, for example, went through a number of printings at the beginning of the 20th century. It completely "revises" the ending of Stowe's story, to fit the story on which America was basing the segregated realities of Jim Crow. Other editions available here were brought out by publishers who specialized in children's books as parts of series adapting "the classics" to young readers. Four such texts -- the ones published by Dutton, Barse and Hopkins, Donohue and Graham & Matlack -- all use versions of the same abridged text (credited to H. E. Marhall in the Told to the Children edition, probably the first of the four, and to Mary E. Blaine in the Pleasant Hours edition). Graham & Matlack's UTC Picture Book seems to combine parts of their Little Folks' edition with yet another version into a text that spells Topsy Topsey half the time, and must have confused as many children as it entertained or instructed.

    All these volumes are illustrated.

  • Gallery of Images
  • Pictures and Stories from Uncle Tom's Cabin
    (Boston: Jewett and Company, 1853)
  • A Peep into Uncle Tom's Cabin
    By Aunt Mary. (London: Sampson Low & Son, Boston: Jewett and Company, 1853)
  • Topsy
    (New York: McLoughlin Brothers, c. 1890)
  • Altemus Young People's Library Uncle Tom's Cabin
    By Harriet Beecher Stowe [With Ninety Illustrations]
    (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1900)
  • McLoughlin Brothers Uncle Tom's Cabin
    By Harriet Beecher Stowe [Illustrated]
    (New York [&c.]: McLoughlin Brothers, c. 1900)
  • Young Folks Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Adapted for Children by Grace Duffie Boylan;
    With Original Illustrations by Ike Morgan
    (New York: H. M. Caldwell Company, 1901)
  • Famous Children of Literature: Little Eva
    Edited by Frederic Lawrence Knowles;
    (Boston: Dana Estes and Company, 1902])
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin Told to the Children
    By H. E. Marshall, With Pictures by A. S. Forrest
    (New York, E. P. Dutton, n.d. [c.1904])
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin: Young Folks' Edition
    By Harriet Beecher Stowe;
    [Illustrations by Eckman, E. Thatcher and others]
    (Chicago: M. A. Donohue and Company, n.d. [c.1905])
  • Pleasant Hour Series: Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Adapted for Children by Mary E. Blaine;
    Illustrated by Hugo von Hofsten
    (New York: Barse and Hopkins, n.d. [c.1905])
  • Little Folks' Uncle Tom's Cabin
    (New York: Graham & Matlack, [c.1910])
  • A Scene from Uncle Tom's Cabin from
    Little Plays for Little Players (ed. Matilda Blair)
    (New York: McLoughlin Brothers, 1907)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin for Children
    (Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Company, 1908)
  • The Story of Topsy
    (Chicago: Reilly and Britton, 1908)
  • Stories for the Children: Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Retold by Edith Robarts | Illustrated in Colour (London; rpt.
    New York: The Platt & Peck Co., n.d. [c.1910])
  • 4-Page Miniature Uncle Tom's Cabin
    ("Made in Germany": c.1910)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin Picture Book
    (New York: Graham & Matlack, 1913)
  • Miss Ophelia and Topsy from
    The Book of Humor (ed. Eva March Tappan)
    (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin; Instructor Literature Series
    Condensed and Retold by John Shirk Simons
    (Dansville, N.Y.: F. A. Owens Publishing Company, 1918)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin: Abridged for Use in Schools
    (Cleveland: World Publishing Company, c. 1920)
  • Adventure Books for Boys and Girls: Uncle Tom's Cabin           (New York: Coward-McCann, c. 1929)

  •     These last two books are special cases. Cassy, or Early Trials is not about the character called Cassy in Uncle Tom's Cabin (whose trials would hardly make suitable reading for children!), but is a children's book published by Jewett & Co. that uses 11 of the Hammatt Billings illustrations Jewett commissioned for the 1853 "Illustrated Edition" of Stowe's novel. Little Eva also borrows a character's name from Stowe, but puts it to very different uses: this text is the children's book equivalent to the "Anti-Tom" novels published during the 1850s by pro-slavery writers in an attempt to counteract the influence of Stowe's book. The "Little Eva" who is The Flower of the South lives in Alabama, not New Orleans, is rescued from drowning by Sam, not Tom, and sees nothing wrong with enslaving human beings.

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