Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Biographical / Historical
Scope and Contents
Other Finding Aids
The Huntington Library
Title: James Thomas Fields papers
Fields, James Thomas
Identifier/Call Number: mssFI
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
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.
[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
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).
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
- 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
- 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
Significant persons represented in the collection: 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
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.
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
Publishers and publishing -- United States -- Archives
Women authors, American
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.