1/22 — Some Reader Responses

    In the 1 January 1852 issue of The National Era, Gamaliel Bailey, the paper's publisher and editor, added this announcement to the weekly installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin:

MRS. STOWE'S STORY.—This story is to be published in a separate form by Jewett & Co., of Boston. Orders for it should be sent to them. They are stereotyping it, as it appears in the Era, so that it will be issued by them, so soon as completed in our paper. Could Mrs. Stowe see the hundreds of warm, hearty compliments paid her in our letters, she would be convinced that she is doing a good work.

    Unfortunately, most of those "hundreds" of letters have disappeared, but between July, 1851, and February, 1853, Bailey did print a handful of letters from readers around the country, giving us at least some access to how the book's original readers responded to Stowe's text. All the letters below were published in the Era on the dates in parentheses, the first five while Uncle Tom's Cabin was still coming out in serial installments.

  • Letter from New York (1 July 1851)

  • Letter from Grace Greenwood (2 October 1851)

  • Letter from Washington (30 October 1851)

  • 2 letters, from New York and from Kentucky (22 January 1852

  • Letter from Illinois (29 January 1852)

  • Letter from "a friend" (10 June 1852)

  • Letter from Louisiana (7 October 1852)

  • Letter from Nantucket (10 February 1853)