Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Gender in Paradise: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Postbellum Prose on Florida


Susan A. Eaker

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HARRIET BEECHER STOWE IS NOT USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH FLORIDA, yet the Connecticut-born author of Uncle Tom's Cabin made the southermnost state her winter home from 1867 through 1884. Ostensibly, Stowe first went to Florida to participate in the work of Reconstruction. To that end, she eventually set up a school and church for freed- people in Mandarin, a small settlement located on the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville. Stowe also hoped to rehabilitate her son Fred (who, as a Union soldier, had been physically and emotionally wounded by the Civil War) by making him the overseer of a cotton plantation and later of an orange grove at Mandarin. She may also have had other, more intensely personal motivations for her travels south, for it was in the "Sunshine State" that she sought and found her own postwar reconstruction.