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This photo courtesy of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Lord Byron Scandal

Harriet Beecher Stowe met Lady Byron in England while on tour in 1853 to promote Uncle Tom's Cabin. They had a very intimate conversation in which Lady Byron told Harriet all the particulars of her separation from Lord Byron. Harriet published the true story of Lady Byron's life in The Atlantic in 1869. In the article, Stowe accused Lord Byron of incest with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. The resulting furor intensified the storm set off by Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the press heaped attacks on Harriet.

She hired her sister Isabella Beecher Hooker to act as her secretary, her sister Mary Beecher Perkins to write in her defense, and John Hooker as her legal adviser. Stowe wrote a book defending her article, and Mark Twain sided with her in an editorial in the Buffalo Express, but public sentiment had already turned against her. Harriet's book sales dropped, and financial pressure caused the Stowe family to abandon Oakholm and move to Florida. Several years later, they bought the house on Forest Street.

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