Uncredited Illustrators and an Evolving Publishing Company

© 2013, Sarah Lane
Uncle Tom's Cabin (Unabridged Edition)

Figure 2: "'An't she a peart young 'un?' said Tom, holding her from him, to take a full-length view" (frontispiece).

From the beginning, UTC has frequently been published with a variety of beautiful illustrations. Unfortunately, the single image that appears inside this edition is unsigned (see figure 2). Luckily, it has since been credited to George Thomas, T.R. Macquoid, and William Thomas (“1888”). This single image is only one of over one-hundred illustrations that they originally created for an 1853 version of the text (“1888”). It is unclear, however, which of the three actually drew the sole illustration in this edition or if they were also responsible for designing the cover. The Thomas brothers and T.R. Macquoid were all of English origin (Banerjee; Simkin, “William”; “Thomas”), as was Routledge, the publishing company responsible for this edition.

George Routledge and Sons, previously George Routledge and Co, was a popular British publisher of works of fiction during the 19th century (“Routledge”). The company currently functions primarily as a publisher of academic work, rather than literary fiction (“About Us”). However, back in the 1800s, George Routledge and Co facilitated to an increasingly literate, English public with easily affordable fiction (“Routledge”). They first published UTC in 1852, upon its initial arrival in England (Fisch, American Slaves 12). Due to the novel’s popularity, they continued publishing it through the mid and late 1800s, despite changes to the name of their company (“Routledge”).

Although UTC is very clearly set in America and written by an American author, this edition, specifically, is otherwise very British. Not only was it illustrated by Englishmen and published by an English company, but it even features a preface, written in October of 1852, by an English gentleman, the Earl of Carlisle. Although this may sound surprising, this edition of UTC is actually only one of many that have such a British background.