Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1850 short story, “Christmas, or the Good Fairy,” will be staged for the first time Dec. 9 at the writer’s former home in Walnut Hills.
“Christmas, or the Good Fairy” was first printed Dec. 26, 1850, in the National Era, the abolitionist newspaper which also published Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as a serial. It is set in 1849 in The Bottoms area of Cincinnati, which stretched from the Public Landing north to Sixth Street, and east to Mount Adams.
Cincinnati playwright Trey Tatum and director Bridget Leak adapted her short story into a 30-minute play for their Queen City Flash theater group.
Earlier in 1850, Stowe moved from Cincinnati to Maine with her husband, theology professor Calvin Stowe, and their children. An 18-month-old son had died in 1849 of cholera, which was one of the inspirations for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
The Christmas story “was the first thing she wrote after she left Cincinnati. I see it as remembering her last Christmas in Cincinnati, 1-1/2 years after she buried her son,” says Chris DeSimio, president of Friends of Harriet Beecher Stowe House Inc.
The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, in the front parlor and dining room of the at the Stowe House, 2950 Gilbert Ave., at Martin Luther King Drive.
Tickets ($20), which include holiday treats and hammered dulcimer music by Kyle Meadows, may be purchased at the stowehousecincy website or by contacting Stowe House program director Caitlin Tracey-Miller at 319-504-6501. All proceeds benefit the Friends of Harriet Beecher Stowe House, the volunteer organization which staffs the house.
“We hope this will take its place among Cincinnati's great holiday traditions,” DeSimio says.
Stowe lived in the house about 18 years (1832-1850) with her father, Lyman Beecher, when he was president of Lane Theological Seminary. The house sits on grounds of the former seminary, where former slave James Bradley and 17 students convinced seminarians in 1834 to call for the immediate abolition of slavery. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.