Storied Stowe House: Katie Randall ’16 on Finding Passions at Bowdoin — And in Its History

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

The College-owned Harriet Beecher Stowe House, a National Historic Landmark, added new chapters to its story this year with a significant national distinction and the opening of a public space, Harriet’s Writing Room. The house at 63 Federal Street where Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the anti-slavery novel that some say helped spark the American Civil War, has been included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom by the National Park Service.

Katie Randall '16

Katie Randall ’16

The designation recognizes significant contributions to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American history and is a result of research by Katie Randall ’16, under the guidance of  Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English Tess Chakkalakal. Randall writes of the findings—both historical and personal—she discovered along the way.

When I came to Bowdoin in 2012, I had a plan. I was going to major in art history and go on to be an architect. I loved art history from day one, but over my four years here, Bowdoin helped me discover historic preservation. I had the opportunity to research the Stowe House and participate in its rehabilitation, and working so closely with this amazing old building allowed me to explore and solidify a future in this niche field. Read more of Randall’s essay.


  1. Excellent article by Katie Randall. I was so happy to have met her at Harriet’s Writing Room shortly after starting my time here as the Stowe House Guide. The Bowdoin and Brunswick communities are now reaping the rewards of all the hard work she and so many others put into this enormous preservation project. If anyone would like to see the beautiful space known as Harriet’s Writing
    Room, stop by 63 Federal Street Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays from 12-3. (Closed Saturday, August 6).

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