STOWE, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896). Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly. Boston: J. P. Jewett; Cleveland: Jewett, Proctor and Worthington, 1852.
2 volumes, 8o (192 x 120 mm). Title-page vignettes and six engraved plates. (Occasional pale marginal browning, a few leaves with some mostly marginal stains.) Original black cloth, front covers with vignette stamped in gilt, blind-stamped borders, gilt-lettered on spine, cream endpapers (spine ends a trifle rubbed, pale stain on rear cover of volume one, front free endpaper of volume one with newspaper article dated 1894 mounted, otherwise clean and bright); later red morocco pull-off case and chemises by Rivière (slightly rubbed).
Provenance: Caroline Palmer: ink and pencil ownership signatures on front flyleaves.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING (BAL's binding B) of Stowe's passionate anti-slavery novel. "Into 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 weakneses 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 that of any book before or since" (PMM).
The work was first published as a serial in the abolitionist newspaper The National Era between 5 June 1851 and 1 April 1852. Intended as a series of sketches showing the evils of life under slavery, it soon assumed much broader dimensions. The first edition, published in two volumes, and bound either in black, purple, or brown cloth, in wrappers, or in an extra-gilt presentation binding, appeared on 20 March 1852. The first printing of 5000 copies was exhausted in a few days, and by the end of the first year, more than 300,000 copies had been sold in America alone. The book was also successful in England, and was translated into some twenty-five languages. BAL 19343; Grolier American 61; Grolier English 183; PMM 332.
[With:] Seated half-length albumen portrait photograph of Stowe, mounted on card, image 107 x 92 mm, signed in ink on the mount beneath the image: "Harriet Beecher Stowe Dec 15 1886." The striking image shows Stowe sitting in a chair, with her arms crossed and her glasses held in her hand, facing the camera. (2)