Research Programs: Scholarly Editions and Translations

Period of Performance

9/1/2004 - 2/29/2008

Funding Totals

$150,000.00 (approved)
$150,000.00 (awarded)

Uncle Tom's Cabin as Cultural Text

FAIN: RQ-50096-04

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Stephen Railton (Project Director: November 2003 to February 2009)

Research and digitization of materials related to the publication and cultural reception of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Underway since 1998 as a project of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, Uncle Tom's Cabin & American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive ( is a free online scholarly resource for studying as completely as possible, and in new ways made possible by the capacities of electronic technology, the story of Stowe's story as a cultural phenomenon. For three quarters of a century (1852-1920) Uncle Tom's cabin remained continually part of the national consciousness as not just a best-selling book, but also through the numerous responses and adaptations it generated: in newspapers and books, on stage, on film, and so on. In this larger cultural sense, the novel served as a central site for Americans to express and argue their ideas about race and slavery, history and religion. The digital archive locates the novel's text in this crucial larger cultural matrix by finding and identifying these ancillary materials and publishing them digitally as sgml texts, high-quality images and multi-media files. We are requesting NEH support to complete the main archival construction phase of the project by digitizing the complete record of the anti-Tom novels of the 1850s, the Southern newspaper response 1852-1865, the children's book adaptations 1890-1930, the transformation of the novel into Tom Shows after 1875, and the history of its adaptation into a series of silent movies between 1903-1927.

Media Coverage

Uncle Tom's Home Page (Review)
Author(s): Ezra Greenspan
Publication: Common-Place
Date: 1/1/2001
Abstract: This is one of the first formal reviews my online archive, Uncle Tom's Cabin & American Culture, received. All the reviews have been very positive, but I confess to being especially pleased with "a model of what a multi-media humanities website can be."

Lincoln Prize (Review)
Author(s): Gettysburg College & Gilder Lehrman Inst of Am History
Date: 1/1/2001
Abstract: Second prize, $10,000 This was the first time the Lincoln Prize included electronic publications as a category.