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Hartford, Harriett Beecher Stowe “Spirits at Stowe”

January 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

beecher stowe



Back by popular demand, the Stowe Center will offer five evening tours in the dusk hour until Daylight Savings.

Join our Spirits at Stowe tour as we delve into the historic social and political context of the 19th century and explore the role of Spiritualism in the lives of reformers, suffragists, and Black activists.

Like many people grappling with loss in the post-Civil War era, Harriet Beecher Stowe- a mother who outlived four of her seven children- found solace in the Spiritualist belief that the spirits of the dead moved and communicated freely in the world of the living and embraced Spiritualism even as she affirmed her commitment to mainstream religion. The Spirits at Stowe tours will allow us to consider in greater depth a less-frequently explored part of Harriet’s life such as child mortality and her complex, even fluid, relationship with organized religion, especially her father’s religion. The tour expands on the life of Isabella Beecher Hooker, allowing us to speak with nuance about the variety of social justice approaches, from Isabella’s more radical support of suffrage to Harriet’s more tepid position. The tour and lectures also open up conversations about Spiritualism as a tool of resistance for radicals and reformers, such as enslaved people and Black (and) women activists by affording opportunities to speak the “unspeakable” via communication with “the other side.” The tour also opens conversation about class inasmuch as Spiritualism offered vocations that brought people into the parlors of social classes they otherwise would never enter. The transgressing of class boundaries is a social justice issue that comes up more tangentially in our regularly offered tours.

During the tour, the Stowe House is “set” to reflect a Spiritualist setting. It takes place later in the evening and lit by (electric) candlelight. Participants on the tour observe and engage with the materials of Spiritualism including a planchette on view, Isabella’s “Spirit Book” in which she recorded the names of those who she felt she communicated with through Spiritualism, images of Spiritualist books and photography to illustrate the images and words associated with Spiritualism, and quotes about Spiritualism. Tour participants will consider the possibilities, limitations, and contradictions of Spiritualist beliefs.

Tour groups are limited to 14 people; tour begins at 4:00 pm
Cost: Adults $20; Seniors $15; Under 17 $10



Harriett Beecher Stowe Center
77 Forest St
Hartford, CT 06105 United States
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(860) 522-9258
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