Little Eva; Uncle Tom’s Guardian Angel. Composed and Respectfully Dedicated to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”. John G. Whittier, poet, music Manuel Emilio, engraver Baker-Smith.
Little Eva; Uncle Tom’s Guardian Angel. Composed and Respectfully Dedicated to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
Little Eva; Uncle Tom’s Guardian Angel. Composed and Respectfully Dedicated to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Little Eva; Uncle Tom’s Guardian Angel. Composed and Respectfully Dedicated to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Boston: Published by John P. Jewett & Company; Cleveland, Ohio: Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, 1852. George C. Rand & Co., Printers. Illustrated sheet music, 4to (14” x 10.75”). 4 pp., cover engraving, 3.25” x 5.25”.

The publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852 resulted in a virtual explosion of books, broadsides, sheet music, posters and other ephemera. Boston publisher John P. Jewett (1814–1884) published this song for voice and piano in the same year that he published the first edition of the novel. The price was twenty-five cents. The song was performed in a dramatization of Uncle Tom's Cabin adapted by George L. Aiken from Stowe’s novel.

The illustration on the front-cover, produced by Boston wood-engravers Baker & Smith after artist Hammatt Billings, shows Little Eva reading the Bible to Uncle Tom while seated in an arbor, and was one of numerous illustrations designed by Billings for the first edition. According to Billings’s biographer James O'Gorman, “Little Eva reading the Bible to Uncle Tom in the arbor” was “without doubt the most important image of the first edition.” At the time the novel was published, there was no visual precedent for an adult black man sharing an intimate moment with a small white girl, alone and out in nature. Seen outside the context of the book, Tom and Eva in the arbor would likely have been an arresting sight. Of all Billings’s scenes for the book, this one proved the most captivating and was reproduced both as Billings designed it and in numerous variations on broadsides, sheet music, and elsewhere.

John P. Jewett published a number of anti-slavery works, including Pictures and Stories From Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853, an edition for children), Autographs for Freedom (1853), Richard Hildreth’s Despotism in America : an inquiry into the nature, results, and legal basis of the slave-holding system in the United States (1854), A North-side View of Slavery : The Refugee (1856) and History of the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue (1859).

Hammatt Billings (1816–1874) was an artist, designer, architect, illustrator and painter. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum in 1859 and 1873, and achieved considerable recognition as an architect.

REFERENCES: Morgan, Jo-Ann. Illustrating Uncle Tom's Cabin at utc.iath.virginia.edu; Groce and Wallace. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564–1860 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957), p. 49.

CONDITION: Good, front cover with minor soiling, early presentation inscription in pencil just above title, contents generally clean.

Item #4395

Price: $350.00