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Harriet Beecher Stowe

Book Overview: 

After the Civil War, Harriet and her husband Charles bought an Orange Plantation in Mandarin, on the upper east coast of Florida, where they lived during the winter months. Over the years they expanded their cottage to accommodate many guests (now a museum open to the public). They opened schools to educate and churches to care for the recently freed negros pouring into Florida seeking refuge and opportunity. These charming essays, each describing a largely undeveloped rural land, became one of the first travel guides written about Florida and stimulated the first boom of tourism and residential development to that area. Stow describes its waterways, flora and fauna, the generosity of the people, the lush abundance of flowers, farmer's efforts to develop crops, Negro relations with whites, correspondence with famous persons, etc

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nds to be a safe beast, and will certainly never run away with any of us.

As to the choice of excursions, there are several,—one to our neighbor Bowens to see sugar-making, where we can watch the whole process, from the grinding of the cane through the various vats and boilers, till at last we see the perfected sugar in fine, bright, straw-colored crystals in the sugar-house. We are hospitably treated to saucers of lovely, amber-colored sirup just on the point of crystallization,—liquid sugar-candy,—which, of course, we do not turn away from. Then, again, we can go down the banks of the river to where our neighbor Duncan has cleared up a little spot in what used to be virgin forest, and where now a cosey little cottage is beginning to peep through its many windows upon the river-view. Here a bright little baby—a real little Florida flower—has lately opened a pair of lovely eyes, and is growing 45 daily in grace and favor. In f. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Excellent historical reading about Florida. The book is a series of articles written by Harriet Beecher Stowe to tell others about FL. She lived near current day Jacksonville in what is now the neighborhood of Mandarin. Living in Jacksonville myself I quite enjoyed reading about when the area was st

Life in Florida, shortly after the Civil War: what a distinguished Christian New England author experienced. The author is Harriet Beecher Stowe, she of Uncle Tom's Cabin fame, here quietly asserting the virtues of her new discovery, a state largely traversed by steamboat, yacht, and mule-drawn wago

I decided to read Palmetto Leaves because I have lived all but four years of my life on two of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s previously owned thirty acres in Florida. Being just steps from the interracial school that she helped build, the Episcopal Church that her family helped organize, and the post offi

In Palmetto Leaves, Stowe describes Florida before its development. She was an early New England tourist in Mandarin, Florida, and seemed to write this book as a travel guide. She spoke of flowers and birds and flowing water. There were mythologic references and similarities and contrasts between Fl

Harriet Beecher Stowe's venture into travel sketches, Palmetto Leaves, I selected because I've read and taught quite a bit by this famous author but never what she wrote about Florida. And I was intrigued that she bought property and spent winters in Florida not merely to escape the cold, like many

This book was simply a delight to me. I have lived in this area of Florida and just reading her experiences of living her so long ago just really opened up so much to my eyes.
The descriptions of birds, trees, swamps and the river would really stand out as I would go walking in areas that I thought s

This was an interesting book, an account from the author most famous for Uncle Tom's Cabin, who lived in Mandarin, FL prior to its modern inclusion as just a suburb of Jacksonville. It is a collection of letters/articles throughout 1872 and describes life in North Florida at that time. It is fascina