Halfway between Sermon and Social Theory: The Mania for “Tom Mania”

  • John W. Frick
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


By all accounts (and there were many), the day that Uncle Tom’s Cabin came to town was one to remember and savor—arguably one of the most important events of the year in small-town America in the late nineteenth century. Uncle Tom’s arrival in town was heralded well in advance by a plethora of colorful posters tacked to town buildings and plastered on fences; posters such as one for Al. W. Martin’s Mammoth Uncle Tom’s Cabin Company that advertised “the most magnificent, elaborate and complete production of this immortal play the American stage has ever witnessed”; or one for Parsons & Pool’s Ideal Uncle Tom’s Cabin that featured the Tennessee Jubilee Singers and the escape of Eliza; or a poster depicting Eliza crossing the ice chased by slavers and their hounds that promised the arrival of De Wolfe’s Original Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, possibly a Downie’s Spectacular Company poster that advertised their trained bloodhounds and their trick donkey, Whiskers, and that urged the townspeople not to “fail to see our grand street parade.”1


Social Theory Racial Attitude Racial Stereotype White Supremacy Racial Politics 
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© John W. Frick 2012

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  • John W. Frick

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