Chapter

The Nursery and the Parlor: 1838–1841

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.003.0012
The Nursery and the Parlor: 1838–1841

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Unlike the male-dominated marriages of the 18th century, Calvin Stowe and Harriet Beecher Stowe's union was a “companionate marriage” —increasingly the middle-class norm. The marital concept of intellectual companionship, prevalent in the advice literature of the period, was strongly enforced by the teaching of Sarah Pierce at the Litchfield school. The gains for women in the new, companionate ideal were clear, but there were costs as well. Companionate marriages gave rise to more conflict, for the expectations and roles were less defined. A greater stress on their marriage than their contrasting temperaments was the strain of closely spaced childbearing. In both the difficulties and joys of young motherhood Harriet was supported by her help, Anna Smith, a recently arrived English immigrant whom Harriet treated more as a sister than a domestic servant.

Keywords: Calvin Stowe; Harriet Beecher Stowe; marriage; intellectual companionship; childbearing; Anna Smith

Chapter.  5811 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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