An American Family: The Beecher Tradition
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INTRODUCTION

"This country is inhabited by saints, sinners and Beechers."
Dr. Leonard Bacon, c.1863

Families that have been influential in American life and culture are often recognizable by their signature names. The Beecher family is an example of one such family whose deep religious convictions and social conscience spanned the nineteenth century and made them prominent historical figures whose impact on religion, education, abolition, reform movements, literature and public life were exceptional. Biographer Milton Rugoff claims that in "two generations the Beechers emerged, along with many other Americans, from a God-centered, theology-ridden world concerned with the fate of man's eternal soul into a man-centered society occupied mainly with life on earth." (The Beechers, p. xiii).

Studio group shot.

Picture of the Beecher family c.1850. Taken by Mathew Brady, New York. Standing from the left : Thomas, William. Edward, Charles, Henry. Seated from the left: Isabella, Catherine, Lyman, Mary, Harriet. Courtesy of The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, Connecticut.
See larger image.


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