Group portrait of members of the the Beecher family. Includes, from left to right, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lyman Beecher, and Henry Ward Beecher.

Group portrait of members of the the Beecher family. Includes, from left to right, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lyman Beecher, and Henry Ward Beecher.

The Beecher Family

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.