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Bowdoin Sues Over Home With Ties to Harriet Beecher Stowe

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin College is suing a Florida woman to block her from selling a home in the middle of the school’s campus where she claims Harriet Beecher Stowe allegedly wrote portions of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

The Portland Press Herald reports the lawsuit against Arline Lay of St. Augustine, Florida, was filed Aug. 12 in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Bowdoin acquired the right of first refusal to the house in 1996, when the college bought an adjacent property from Lay’s family.

The agreement states that Bowdoin would pay 125 percent of a price based on appraisals. But Lay’s attorney says that only applies if she died and is asking Bowdoin to pay the sale price plus 25 percent for the six-bedroom residence.

Lay received a $750,000 offer after listing it earlier this year.

Bowdoin says the family has overvalued the property, and says scholars have disputed that Stowe wrote part of her novel there.