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Beecher-Stowe family

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Start your archival research on the Beecher-Stowe family with this guide. 

The Beecher family is considered by many as one of the most influential families among its contemporaries. The family is known for their stance on abolition, religion, education, and women’s rights. Its members had written and preached about the immorality of slavery for decades and had taken action in various ways, including purchasing and subsequently freeing slaves. When the Civil War began, they were ardent supporters. Like other abolitionist families, they sent family members into the war as soldiers, officers, chaplains and teachers: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s son, several nephews, two half-brothers, and a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law served in some capacity.

The collection housed at the Schlesinger Library consists of over 10,000 items, which includes correspondence (both business and personal), manuscripts, newspaper articles, and photographs from family members. Across the collection, there are documents related to Lyman Beecher, Catharine Beecher, Edward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, William Beecher, Thomas Beecher, James Beecher, Calvin Ellis Stowe, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

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Many of our collections are stored offsite and/or have access restrictions. Be sure to contact us in advance of your visit.

Digitized Archival Collections

The initial project of digitizing the Beecher-Stowe papers consisted of a collection of approximately 10,000 digitized documents. These items include correspondence, articles, and photographs from Lyman Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, Catharine Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, James C. Beecher, Frances Johnson Beecher Perkins, Calvin Stowe, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and other family members.