Palmetto Leaves is a memoir and travel guide written by Harriet Beecher Stowe about her winters in the town of Mandarin, Florida, published in 1873. Already famous for having written Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), Stowe came to Florida after the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865). She purchased a plantation near Jacksonville as a place for her son to recover from the injuries he had received as a Union soldier and to make a new start in life. After visiting him, she became so enamored with the region she purchased a cottage and orange grove for herself and wintered there until 1884, even though the plantation failed within its first year. Parts of Palmetto Leaves appeared in a newspaper published by Stowe's brother, as a series of letters and essays about life in northeast Florida. Scion of New England clergy, Stowe keenly felt a sense of Christian responsibility that was expressed in her letters. She considered it her duty to help improve the lives of newly emancipated blacks and detailed her efforts to establish a school and church in Mandarin toward these ends. Parts of the book relate the lives of local African-Americans and the customs of their society. Stowe described the charm of the region and its generally moderate climate but warned readers of "excessive" heat in the summer months and occasional cold snaps in winter. Her audience comprises relatives, friends, and strangers in New England who ask her advice about whether or not to move to Florida, which at the time was still mostly wilderness. Although it is a minor work in Stowe's oeuvre, Palmetto Leaves was one of the first travel guides written about Florida and stimulated Florida's first boom of tourism and residential development in the 1880s.... Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe ( June 14, 1811 - July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. She came from the Beecher family, a famous religious family, and is best known for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), which depicts the harsh conditions for enslaved African Americans. The book reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and Great Britain, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. Stowe wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential for both her writings and her public stances on social issues of the day. Life and work: Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14, 1811. She was the seventh of 13 children born to outspoken Calvinist preacher Lyman Beecher and Roxana (Foote), a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was only five years old. Roxana's maternal grandfather was General Andrew Ward of the Revolutionary War. Her notable siblings included a sister, Catharine Beecher, who became an educator and author, as well as brothers who became ministers: including Henry Ward Beecher, who became a famous preacher and abolitionist, Charles Beecher, and Edward Beecher. Harriet enrolled in the Hartford Female Seminary run by her older sister Catharine, where she received a traditional academic education usually reserved for males at the time with a focus in the classics, including studies of languages and mathematics. Among her classmates was Sarah P. Willis, who later wrote under the pseudonym Fanny Fern. In 1832, at the age of 21, Harriet Beecher moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to join her father, who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary. There, she also joined the Semi-Colon Club, a literary salon and social club whose members included the Beecher sisters, Caroline Lee Hentz, Salmon P. Chase (future governor of the state and Secretary of Treasury under President Lincoln), Emily Blackwell and others.............
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