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Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896).
Chapter XVII. The Freeman's Defence Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly. Boston: J.P. Jewett & Co.; Cleveland: Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, 1853.
Call Number: (RARE) PS 2954 .U5 1853
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

J. P. Jewett, a small Boston publisher of graded readers and school texts and a fellow abolitionist, became interested in Uncle Tom's Cabin early on in its serialization. He signed an agreement to publish in March 13, 1852, promising Stowe a ten-percent royalty. As the episodes in The National Era continued, he became alarmed at the book's length, believing abolitionism to be of limited interest and only viable in a cheap, one-volume format. Stowe refused to curtail the ending, so Jewett produced the work initially in two volumes.

Uncle Tom's Cabin immediately broke all sales records of the day: selling 3,000 copies the first day, 10,000 within a week, and 300,000 within a year. Jewett became wealthy, as his presses worked around the clock to publish numerous editions of the popular title, including single-volume deluxe editions such as this one for the Christmas trade. When Jewett's business failed during the Civil War, he became a purveyor of "Peruvian Syrup" and a Patent Agent, and never again attained the same success.


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Prepared by Christopher Barth, Virginia Haas, and Sarah McDaniel