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James Thomas Fields Papers: Finding Aid
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Significant persons represented in the collection
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: James Thomas Fields Papers
    Dates: 1767-1914
    Bulk dates: 1850-1914
    Collection Number: mssFI
    Creator: Fields, James Thomas
    Extent: 5,438 items in 74 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: manuscripts@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collections consist primarily of letters, as well as poems and manuscripts, from various American and British authors to American editor, publisher, and poet James Thomas Fields (1817-1881), mostly relating to publication of their manuscripts by his firm Ticknor and Fields and in The Atlantic Monthly. The collection also includes letters to Fields's wife Annie Fields (1834-1915) concerning literary matters.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information


    The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed and a summary report first created in 1976, and revised in 1983. In March 2000, an initial EAD-encoded finding aid was created and then updated in 2004. In January 2015, Diann Benti created a box list for the collection and this updated version of the finding aid.

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], James Thomas Fields Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The bulk of the collection was received as the gift of A. S. W. Rosenbach, 1922. FI 5097-5438 and FAC 1015 were received as the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Bole Jr. in 1978 and 1986. Boylston Beal, Gift, 1934 and 1936. FI 5447 was purchased from the Autograph Alcove, in May 1989.


    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.
    In his capacity as editor of The Atlantic Monthly, Fields was no less successful. Created in May, 1857, the magazine was purchased by Ticknor and Fields two years later. The following year, Fields took over the editorship of the magazine from James Russell Lowell. During Field's tenure as editor, he continued to maintain the magazine's reputation for dignity and integrity which Lowell had established, and his promptness and business acumen provided a marked contrast to Lowell's sometimes casual methods. As in his role of publisher, Fields dealt fairly and generously with Atlantic contributors, inaugurating the practice of paying for articles when accepted rather than when published. Further, he actively sought out new writers in an effort to broaden the appeal of the magazine, also accepting more pieces of light fiction to ease the number of scholarly literary and historical articles. Under his leadership, the Atlantic significantly increased its circulation, becoming widely known throughout much of the United States and England, as well.
    On December 31, 1870, Fields retired from business, partly because of health, but was able to continue his writing and lecturing. He also continued to enjoy the many friendships he had formed with authors and other literary figures. The Fields home, with James and his wife, Annie (Adams) Fields (1834-1915) receiving, had become a delightful gathering place for literary people in Boston. There were frequent visits from those in and around Boston, such as Dr. Holmes, who lived just down the street, and there were guests from abroad -- those whom the Fieldses had met on their several trips to England, and many distinguished visitors who were brought to the Fieldses to meet the Boston literary circle. The story of the many hours spent with their literary friends is told in their memoirs: Authors and Friends, by Annie Fields, and Yesterdays with Authors, by James T. Fields.
    Following James Fields's death in 1881, Annie continued to receive her many friends, with the frequent companionship of Sarah Orne Jewett, and continued her own literary activities until her death in 1915.


    Austin, James C. Fields of the Atlantic Monthly. (San Marino, Calif.: The Huntington Library, 1953).
    Charvat, William. James T. Fields and the Beginnings of Book Promotion, 1840-1855, The Huntington Library Quarterly VIII (Nov., 1944), 75-94.
    Fields, Annie. Authors and Friends. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1897).
    Fields, James T. Yesterdays with Authors. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1900).
    Howe, M. A. DeWolfe. Memories of a Hostess. (Boston: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1922).

    Scope and Content

    The collections consist primarily of letters from various American and British authors to James Fields, mostly relating to publication of their manuscripts by his firm Ticknor and Fields and in The Atlantic Monthly. The collection also includes letters to Annie (Adams) Fields concerning literary matters. There are also poems, manuscripts, and correspondence by and about the following individuals: Thomas Aldrich, Charlotte Cushman, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jessie Benton Frémont, Edward Everett Hale, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Julia Ward Howe, Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Orne Jewett, Lucy Larcom, Sara Jane Clarke Lippincott (better known by her pen name Grace Greenwood), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Helena Modjeska, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Celia Thaxter, Booker T. Washington and John Greenleaf Whittier. The collection also contains essays, notes, speeches, notebooks, photographs, and articles. The collections chiefly deal with the activities of Ticknor and Fields, as well as Fields' and his wife's own literary efforts. The following authors are subjects in the collections: Robert Burns, Lord Byron, John Milton and Percy Shelley.


    Cards for individual items in the James Thomas Fields Papers are filed chronologically in the collection section of the Huntington Library Manuscripts Catalogue and alphabetically by author in the main card catalogue.


    The collection is arranged alphabetically by author.

    Significant persons represented in the collection


    • Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 2 poems
    • Ames, Charles Gordon, 1 poem
    • Andrew, John Albion, 1 poem
    • Bartol, Cyrus Augustus, 1 poem
    • Boker, George Henry, 2 poems
    • Boyd, Andrew Kennedy Hutchinson, table of contents
    • Brooks, Phillips, 1 prayer
    • Butler, Frances Anne (Kemble), group of poems
    • Cable, George Washington, fragment of novel
    • Carman, Bliss, 1 poem
    • Clarke, Mary Victoria (Novello) Cowden-, 1 poem
    • Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1 poem
    • Cooke, Rose Terry, 2 poems
    • Cooper, James Fenimore, fragment of novel
    • Craik, Dinah Maria (Mulock), preface and title page
    • Davis, Rebecca Blaine (Harding), 2 short stories
    • Duganne, Augustine Joseph Hickey, 1 poem
    • Emerson, Ralph Waldo, preface to work by Thoreau
    • Everett, Edward, 1 poem
    • Fields, James Thomas, 3 poems
    • Galton, Sir Francis, 1 poem (couplet)
    • Guiney, Louise Imogen, 1 poem
    • Hale, Edward Everett, 1 poem
    • Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 2 essays
    • Hill, George Birkbeck Norman, 1 poem
    • Holmes, Oliver Wendell , 10 poems; 7 essays, 2 photographs
    • Howe, Julia (Ward), 3 poems
    • Landor, Walter Savage, 1 essay
    • Lanier, Clifford Anderson, 1 poem
    • Larcom, Lucy, 1 poem
    • Lear, Edward, 1 poem; 1 drawing
    • Lippincott, Sara Jane (Clarke), 1 poem; preface
    • Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1 poem
    • Longfellow, Samuel, 1 poem
    • Lowell, James Russell, 2 book reviews; 1 essay
    • Martineau, Harriet, 2 essays
    • Mazzini, Giuseppe, 1 essay
    • Novello, Mary Sabilla, 1 poem
    • Osgood, Kate Putnam, 1 poem
    • Parker, Nathan, 1 sermon
    • Parsons, Thomas William, 3 poems
    • Procter, Bryan Waller, 2 poems
    • Reade, Charles, corrections for ms.
    • Sala, George Augustus Henry, 1 essay
    • Sheppard, Elizabeth Sara, 6 poems, and misc. verses
    • Stoddard, Richard Henry, 5 poems
    • Stowe, Harriet Elizabeth (Beecher), 1 poem; 16 selections from fiction and essays, incl. Chimney Corner and House and Home Papers
    • Taylor, Bayard, 2 essays; Poems of Home and Travel, and Poems of the Orient
    • Tennyson, Alfred, 1st Baron Tennyson, draft of a prelude
    • Thaxter, Celia (Laighton), 29 poems
    • Thomas, Edith Matilda, 1 poem
    • Trowbridge, John Townsend, 1 poem
    • Ward, Elizabeth Stuart (Phelps), 2 poems
    • Waterston, Anna Cabot Lowell (Quincy), 1 poem
    • Whitney, Adeline Dutton (Train), 2 poems
    • Whittier, John Greenleaf, 7 poems, and extract from Margaret Smith's Journal
    • Woolsey, Sarah Chauncey, 1 poem

    Correspondence (persons represented by 10 or more pieces)

    • Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot, (Cary), 33 pieces, between 1850 and 1908
    • Alden, Henry Mills, 50 pieces, 1861-1912
    • Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 60 pieces, 1855->1907
    • Allibone, Samuel Austin, 29 pieces, 1855-1863
    • Armstrong, Samuel Chapman, 16 pieces, 1881-1893
    • Arnold, Ethel Margaret, 13 pieces, 1889-1912
    • Bartol, Cyrus Augustus, 28 pieces, 1854-1883
    • Boker, George Henry, 37 pieces, 1849-1867
    • Boyd, Andrew Kennedy Hutchinson, 21 pieces, 1861-1862
    • Brooks, Phillips, 13 pieces, 1879-1890
    • Brown, John h, 25 pieces, 1860->1895
    • Brownell, Henry Howard, 29 pieces, 1865-1867
    • Cary, Alice, 17 pieces, 1856->1871
    • Child, Lydia Maria (Francis), 41 pieces, 1859-1879
    • Clarke, Charles Cowden- and Clarke, Mary Victoria (Novello) Cowden-, 61 pieces, 1860-1896
    • Clarke, James Freeman, 11 pieces, 1875-1884
    • Collyer, Robert, 118 pieces, 1866-1912
    • Cooke, Rose Terry, 10 pieces, 1860-1889
    • Craig, Margaret (deQuincey), 10 pieces, 1852-1855
    • Curtis, George William, 47 pieces, 1854-1880
    • Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 44 pieces, 1860->1876
    • Dana, Richard Henry a, 10 pieces, 1841-1878
    • Diaz, Abby (Morton), 51 pieces, 1863->1905
    • Dickens, Charles, 32 pieces, 1859-1870
    • Dickinson, Lowes Cato, 19 pieces, 1873-1888
    • Douglas, David, 13 pieces, 1888-1911
    • Emerson, Ellen Tucker, 15 pieces, 1864-1908
    • Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 36 pieces, 1859-1873
    • Fairbanks, Charles B, 11 pieces, 1851-1857
    • Farrar, Eliza Ware (Rotch), 12 pieces, 1864-1866
    • Fields, Annie (Adams), 44 pieces, 1857->1915
    • Fields, James Thomas, 337 pieces, 1845->1881
    • Forbes, Edith (Emerson), 15 pieces, 1898->1915
    • Fremont, Jessie (Benton), 26 pieces, 1861-1864
    • Furness, Horace Howard, 18 pieces, 1874-1911
    • Furness, William Henry a, 18 pieces, 1863-1881
    • Giles, Henry, 41 pieces, 1849-1865
    • Godwin, Parke, 15 pieces, 1861-1901
    • Griswold, Rufus Wilmot, 41 pieces, 1840-1855
    • Guiney, Louise Imogen, 126 pieces, 1884-1914
    • Hale, Edward Everett, 47 pieces, 1863->1909
    • Hale, George Silsbee, 14 pieces, 1879-1889
    • Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 34 pieces, 1851-1864
    • Hayes, Isaac Israel, 27 pieces, 1867-1872
    • Higginson, Ida (Agassiz), 20 pieces, 1893->1915
    • Hogarth, Georgina, 93 pieces, 1869-1913
    • Holmes, Oliver Wendell , 136 pieces, 1850-1894
    • Howe, Julia (Ward), 68 pieces, 1852-1908
    • Howells, William Dean, 111 pieces, 1860-1914
    • Ireland, Alexander, 10 pieces, 1868-1886
    • Jackson, Helen Maria (Fiske) Hunt, 21 pieces, 1867-1884
    • James, Henry , 12 pieces, 1882-1911
    • Jerdan, William, 11 pieces, 1851-1855
    • Jesse, Edward, 24 pieces, 1854-1867
    • King, Thomas Starr, 11 pieces, 1853-1863
    • Larcom, Lucy, 31 pieces, 1860->1893
    • Leonowens, Anna Harriette (Crawford), 49 pieces, 1873-1911
    • Lippincott, Sara Jane (Clarke), 70 pieces, 1848->1855
    • Livermore, Mary Ashton (Rice), 15 pieces, 1873-1887
    • Longfellow, Alice Mary, 10 pieces, 1882-1899
    • Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 142 pieces, 1845-1881
    • Longfellow, Samuel, 14 pieces, 1864->1892
    • Lowell, James Russell, 66 pieces, 1849-1891
    • Lowell, Josephine (Shaw), 13 pieces, 1882-1897
    • Lowell, Robert Traill Spence, 12 pieces, 1861-1863
    • Meynell, Alice Christiana Gertrude (Thompson), 21 pieces, 1901-1914
    • Mitchell, Donald Grant, 27 pieces, 1857-1868
    • Mitchell, Silas Weir, 12 pieces, 1866-1908
    • Mitford, Mary Russell, 65 pieces, 1848-1854
    • Modjeska, Helena (Opid), 14 pieces, 1879-1900
    • Norton, Charles Eliot, 25 pieces, 1850-1907
    • Palfrey, Sara Hammond, 10 pieces, 1861-1905
    • Parsons, Thomas William, 18 pieces, 1850-1882
    • Parton, James, 40 pieces, 1866-1877
    • Preston, Harriet Waters, 12 pieces, 1873-1910
    • Procter, Bryan Waller, 12 pieces, 1851-1864
    • Putnam, Mary Traill Spence (Lowell), 33 pieces, 1862->1898
    • Reade, Charles, 77 pieces, 1855-1881
    • Rich, Hiram, 19 pieces, 1865-1888
    • Richards, Laura Elizabeth (Howe), 17 pieces, 1891->1915
    • Ritchie, Lady Anne Isabella (Thackeray), 11 pieces, 1867-1912
    • Sinclair, May, 13 pieces, 1905-1912
    • Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 14 pieces, 1866-1897
    • Stoddard, Richard Henry, 46 pieces, 1850-1858
    • Stowe, Harriet Elizabeth (Beecher), 132 pieces, 1860->1896
    • Sullivan, Thomas Russell, 15 pieces, 1898-1912
    • Sumner, Charles, 17 pieces, 1841-1868
    • Tennyson, Emily (Sellwood), Baroness, Tennyson, 16 pieces, 1859-1894
    • Thaxter, Celia (Laighton), 62 pieces, 1861-1892
    • Thomas, Edith Matilda, 10 pieces, 1885-1888
    • Trowbridge, John Townsend, 18 pieces, 1865-1867
    • Ward, Mary Augusta (Arnold), 14 pieces, 1892-1914
    • Warner, Charles Dudley, 32 pieces, 1880-1900
    • Wasson, David Atwood, 49 pieces, 1861-1876
    • Waterston, Anna Cabot Lowell (Quincy), 20 pieces, 1860-1880
    • Wayland, Francis b, 12 pieces, 1861-1867
    • Weiss, John, 24 pieces, 1862-1875
    • White, Richard Grant, 13 pieces, 1855-1863
    • Whitney, Adeline Dutton (Train), 36 pieces, 1861-1898
    • Whitney, Anne, 23 pieces, 1867->1915
    • Whittier, John Greenleaf, 305 pieces, 1843-1892
    • Willson, Byron Forceythe, 19 pieces, 1865-1866
    • Woodberry, George Edward, 36 pieces, 1889->1915

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Personal Names

    Burns, Robert, 1759-1796.
    Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824.
    Fields, Annie, 1834-1915.
    Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881.
    Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882.
    Milton, John, 1608-1674.
    Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822.
    Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907.
    Cushman, Charlotte, 1816-1876.
    Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
    Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882.
    Fields, Annie, 1834-1915.
    Frémont, Jessie Benton, 1824-1902.
    Greenwood, Grace, 1823-1904.
    Hale, Edward Everett, Sr., 1822-1909.
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864.
    Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894.
    Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910.
    Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885.
    Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909.
    Larcom, Lucy, 1824-1893.
    Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882.
    Modjeska, Helena, 1840-1909.
    Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896.
    Thaxter, Celia, 1835-1894.
    Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915.
    Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892.

    Corporate Names

    Atlantic Monthly Press.
    Ticknor and Fields.


    Authors, American.
    Authors, English.
    Poets, American.
    Poets, British.
    Publishers and publishing -- United States -- Archives.
    Women authors, American.

    Geographic Areas

    Boston (Mass.)


    Articles -- United States.
    Essays -- United States.
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States.
    Manuscripts for publication -- United States.
    Notes -- United States.
    Notebooks -- United States.
    Photographs -- United States.
    Poems -- United States.
    Speeches -- United States.