Banned Books Week is coming to a close, but we still have a few documents to share with you. In 1984, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was classified as “forbidden” in a Waukegan, Illinois, school district for its language.Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel was the second-best selling book of the 19th century, right behind the Bible. It was a controversial book as soon as it was published—and it continues to be debated and criticized for its language, portrayal of slavery, and stereotypes of slaves.Shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe published “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” F.W. Thomas, the editor of a German newspaper in Philadelphia, began translating the work and publishing it in installments—without paying royalties. Stowe and her husband sued in the Federal court in Philadelphia, and Mrs. Stowe submitted a deposition describing her authorship.Image: Page one of the deposition of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 01/03/1853. National Archives Identifier: 278936. Read the full deposition here: http://go.usa.gov/DwRh
For #BannedBooksWeek and author Upton Sinclair’s 135th birthday (belated!), born September 20, 1878.
In honor of Banned Books Week, here’s a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt from Upton Sinclair, whose novel “The Jungle” has been banned in banned in Yugoslavia, East Germany, South Korea, and Boston.
In this letter, Sinclair wrote to President Roosevelt, supported the presence of federal inspectors in the meat-packing houses.
He advised that inspectors should come disguised as workingmen to discover the true conditions, as Sinclair did when he researched his book “The Jungle.”
(PS: Best to avoid reading this at mealtimes.)