Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a wildly popular novel that depicted the horrors of life in slavery, helped support the abolitionist cause. Illustrations in the 1852 first edition represented Tom’s sale to the violent plantation owner Simon Legree (“The Auction Sale”), as well as the plight of Eliza, who escaped to freedom to save her son (“The Fugitives Are Safe In A Free Land”).

By the 1850s Americans increasingly understood that the Ohio River divided freedom and slavery. Eliza’s flight across the Ohio River soon appeared in other cultural products, including this 1852 sheet music.