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184 pp., 6 x 9, 9 illus.

ISBN  978-0-8078-6961-1
Published: September 2011

Uncle Tom's Story of His Life

An Autobiography of the Reverend Josiah Henson

By Josiah Henson

Edited by John Lobb, with a Foreword by Harriet Beecher Stowe

This 1876 version of Josiah Henson's autobiography, the first of many editions issued by British editor John Lobb, followed the original 1849 edition and a much-expanded 1858 version. The autobiography traces Henson's life from his birth into slavery in Maryland in 1789; his escape to Canada in 1830; his participation in the founding of the Dawn Settlement for fugitive slaves in Ontario; and his several trips to England to raise funds for the settlement. Henson, who in his later years toured as the model for the Uncle Tom of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, describes his meeting with Stowe in 1852 and draws parallels between the histories of other Uncle Tom's Cabin characters and his own acquaintances. While Stowe herself stressed that there was no single model for her title character, she called Henson a "parallel instance" for Uncle Tom in A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin. Reprinted multiple times in the United States and Britain in the nineteenth century and translated into several other languages, Henson's autobiography continues to reward readers with its descriptions not only of slave life in Maryland and Kentucky, but also of the business and educational ventures of escaped slaves in Ontario.

A DOCSOUTH BOOK. This collaboration between UNC Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library brings selected classic works from the digital library of Documenting the American South back into print. DocSouth Books uses the latest digital technologies to make these works available as downloadable e-books or print-on-demand publications. DocSouth Books are unaltered from the original publication, providing affordable and easily accessible editions to a new generation of scholars, students, and general readers.

About the Author

Josiah Henson began life enslaved, escaped to Canada after forty-one years, and became an administrator and fundraiser for Ontario's Dawn Settlement, an industrial school and township for Canadians of African origin.

John Lobb, prominent British businessman and public figure, was born on August 7, 1840, in Middlesex, England; he became a lay preacher in the Methodist ministry as well as editor of successful journals. Lobb and Henson were honored with a command to meet the queen at Windsor Castle on March 5, 1877.

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