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Inventory of the James Thomas Fields Papers, 1767-1914 (bulk 1850-1914)
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection consists primarily of letters from authors to James Thomas Fields, mostly relating to publication of their manuscripts by his firm. Letters concerning literary matters are also addressed to Annie Fields. Included in the collection are many autograph manuscripts of poems, essays, articles, etc. by American and English authors.
Background
James Thomas Fields (1817-1881) occupied an important position in the nineteenth century literary scene in his dual role as editor of The Atlantic Monthly and publisher in the Boston firm of Ticknor and Fields. His career as publisher began in 1831, when he became a clerk for the Old Corner Bookstore, which evolved into the firm of William D. Ticknor and Company. During the forties, Ticknor and Co. began its rise to greatness, with extra impetus provided by its publication in 1847 of Longfellow's Evangeline. Soon after, the firm also established relations with other New England writers such as Whittier, Lowell, Hawthorne, and Holmes, each of whom contributed to the increasing prestige of Ticknor and Co. Meanwhile, Fields began a corresponding rise, advancing to a junior partnership in 1843, though the firm retained its title until 1849, when it became Ticknor, Reed and Fields. The title of Ticknor and Fields came into being in June, 1854, and lasted until 1868, when reorganization changed the name to Fields, Osgood and Company, with Fields as senior partner. Throughout his career as a publisher, Fields was extremely successful in establishing good relationships (and in a great many cases, friendships) with a large number of authors, both American and English. Through his fair and generous terms in dealing with them and through his policy of protecting their works against piracy in spite of the absence of any international copyright laws, he was able to attract established, well-known writers to his firm, as well as many who would yet achieve fame. Fields succeeded also in obtaining wide exposure of his firm's books by means of his extensive circle of friends and acquaintances among editors and book reviewers. Chiefly as a result of his promotional talents, Ticknor and Fields were able to develop a national market for their books and hence to make Boston the primary center in the United States for the publication of literary works.
Restrictions
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Availability
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL.