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Fields (James T.) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • General
  • Related Materials
  • Other Finding Aids
  • Arrangement
  • Bibliography

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: James Thomas Fields papers
    Creator: Fields, James Thomas
    Identifier/Call Number: mssFI
    Physical Description: 70 Linear Feet (74 boxes, 1 envelope, 1 oversize folder, 1 volume)
    Date (inclusive): 1767-1914
    Date (bulk): 1850-1914
    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 materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    Conditions Governing Use

    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.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    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. (Benjamin Patterson Bole Jr. and Nancy Adams Bole) and Samuel Adams in 1978 and of Mrs. Benjamin P. Bole Jr. (Nancy Adams Bole) in 1986. Boylston Beal, Gift, 1934 and 1936. FI 5447 was purchased from the Autograph Alcove, in May 1989.

    Biographical / Historical

    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.

    Scope and Contents

    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. Presidential items in this collection include John Adams autograph bill for legal services to Thomas Pratt, 1767 October 14 (FI 5102) and two autograph letters signed from William H. Taft to Annie Adams Fields, 1914 February? and 1914 March 10 (FI 4098, FI 4099).

    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.
    This finding aid was updated in 2022 by Melissa Haley as part of the American Presidential Papers Project with enhanced description of the presidential material present.


    Significant persons represented in the collection: Manuscripts

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

    Significant persons represented in the collection: Correspondence (persons represented by 10 or more pieces)

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

    Related Materials

    1. James Thomas Fields Addenda, 1838-1901  

    Other Finding Aids

    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.


    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).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Authors, American.
    Authors, English.
    Poets, American.
    Poets, British.
    Publishers and publishing -- United States -- Archives
    Women authors, American
    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.
    Adams, John, 1735-1826
    Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907
    Burns, Robert, 1759-1796
    Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824
    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
    Milton, John, 1608-1674
    Modjeska, Helena, 1840-1909
    Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822
    Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
    Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930
    Thaxter, Celia, 1835-1894
    Atlantic Monthly Press.
    Ticknor and Fields.