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seen as a middle ground by all these parties, and was the site of the Whig and Democratic conventions in 1852. Maryland and especially Baltimore were actually strong supporters of the nativist, anti-Catholic American Party. While the leadership of Baltimore was vocally Southern, the population was only moderately so, and the city had strong economic ties with both North and South.

The citizens of Baltimore formed one of the most diverse populations in the nation. Slave-owning merchants and planters lived with their slaves in the city alongside abolitionist, Quaker merchants and free blacks, members of the largest free black community in the United States. As the third-largest city in the United States, Baltimore was a very important and the only Southern city on the northeastern theatre circuit, which ran from Boston through New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Baltimore was also a popular destination for Southern companies touring throughout the region. Some Baltimore theatres operated a colored gallery for free black and possibly slave theatergoers (with their master's permission), which is not a common practice in the North. Baltimore was therefore a fertile ground for a wide variety of Uncle Tom's Cabin productions, and from 1852 to 1855 these shows represented the major interpretations seen across the national stage.

Stowe originally published Uncle Tom's Cabin serially, and first stage productions of the novel occurred in January, 1852, before the novel had been completely published. One source states that "the first known stage version, Uncle Tom's Cabin as it is; or, The Southern Uncle Tom, was performed at the Baltimore Museum on January 5, 1852,"3 but careful study of theatre advertisements and reviews in Baltimore's The Sun newspaper does not indicate that such a production took place. Such a production is completely logical, however, for Baltimore theatre managers would have been eager to make money from the success of Stowe's novel, which would not finish publication until April of the same year. From the title of the production, this version is along the lines of the traditional Southern interpretation, which takes the character of Uncle Tom and portrays him as a happy, carefree slave comfortable with his enslavement, and supporting the system of slavery as that which is best for the Negro race.

The majority of Uncle Tom shows in Baltimore were not produced until after the run of the George Aiken script production at the National Theatre in New York, which ended a 325-performance run on May 13, 1854. The first serious staging of Uncle Tom's Cabin around this time in Baltimore was the production at the Charles St. Theatre, beginning June 30, 1854. The advertisement for the production states, on the specific evening, that there "will be presented the

3 Drummond, A.M. and Richard Moody, "The Hit of the Century: Uncle Tom's Cabin-1852-1952," Educational Theatre Journal 4, no. 4 (1952): 316.
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