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Title: James Thomas Fields Papers Addenda
Collection Number: mssFI Addenda
Fields, James Thomas
Fields, Annie Adams
Approximately 500 pieces in 13 boxes
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
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Abstract: This collection of papers of American editor, publisher, and poet James Thomas Fields (1817-1881) and his wife, Annie (Adams)
Fields (1834-1915), consists of notebooks and loose papers
containing their poetry, essays, notes for speeches, a few scattered diary entries, and memoranda.
Language of Material: The records are in English.
The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please visit the Huntington's website:
In March 2000, an initial EAD-encoded finding aid was created for this collection and then updated in 2004. In January 2015,
created a new EAD-encoded finding aid for the collection.
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.
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[Identification of item], James Thomas Fields Addenda, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Acquired in 1934 from Boylston A. Beal, through M. A. DeWolfe Howe. The
Anniversary Poem, Box 7 (1), also obtained from Mr. Beal, was received in 1936.
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
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.
This collection of papers of Annie (Adams) Fields (1834-1915) and James Thomas Fields (1817-1881) consists of notebooks and
loose papers containing their poetry, essays, notes for speeches,
a few scattered diary entries, and memoranda. Also included are letters to and from the Fieldses, as well as a group of letters
from James Fields to Annie. Complementing the fully-catalogued Fields Collection,
these personal papers of James and Annie Fields comprising the Addenda contain anecdotes and references to some of the literary
figures represented in the main body of the Fields Collection.
Much of the collection consists of notebooks and composition books containing assorted verses, notes, anecdotes, essays and
clippings, with many loose leaves inserted between the pages.
Most of James Fields's manuscripts represented here are loose pages of notes, many intended for use in his lectures, and which
are unnumbered and in random order. They seem to be notes and
anecdotes which he could rearrange at will for a particular purpose.
With the exception of one facsimile John Greenleaf Whittier letter, the papers are all original autographs. The general physical
condition of the papers is good.
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