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Harriet Beecher StoweA Life$
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Joan D. Hedrick

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195096392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.001.0001

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The Nursery and the Parlor: 1838–1841

The Nursery and the Parlor: 1838–1841

(p.122) Chapter Twelve The Nursery and the Parlor: 1838–1841
Harriet Beecher Stowe

Joan D. Hedrick

Oxford University Press

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

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