“THE SOCIAL IMPACT WAS GREATER THAN ANY BOOK BEFORE OR SINCE”: FIRST ISSUE OF UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, 1852, HANDSOMELY BOUND
STOWE, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Or, Life Among the Lowly. Boston and Cleveland: John P. Jewett and Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, 1852. Two volumes. Octavo, period-style full black morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers; original gilt-stamped brown cloth bound in at rear.
First edition, first issue, of Stowe’s classic and vastly influential novel, with title vignettes and six wood-engravings, handsomely bound.
“In the emotion-charged atmosphere of mid-19th 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… the social impact of [the novel] on the United States was greater than that of any book before or since” (PMM 332). “Within a decade after its publication Uncle Tom’s Cabin had become the most popular novel ever written by an American… there is substantial evidence that the book precipitated the American Civil War” (Downs, Books That Changed America, 108). “Begun as a serial in the National Era… Uncle Tom’s Cabin ran from June 5, 1851 to April 1, 1852, gaining an ever-increasing audience as the story progressed. On March 20 of 1852, [this, the first issue in book form] was officially published. By the time the book came out an eager public was waiting to buy it, and over 10,000 copies of the two-volume work were sold in the first week” (Patkus & Schlosser). First issue, with “spilt” (rather than “spiled”) in Volume I, 42, line 1; “cathecism” (rather than “catechism”) in Volume II, 74, line 5; and all other first issue points. Later editions attribute the wood-engravings to Boston architect Hammatt Billings. BAL 19343, B binding (brown cloth, no priority established–bound in at rear of text). Grolier English 100 91. Grolier American 100 61. Sabin 92457. Blockson 10173. See Work, 304.
Text expertly cleaned, beautifully bound. An excellent copy.