Uncommon one page autograph request fullfilled by James Thomas Fields. Signed on June of 1880 less than one year before he died. Fields was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father was a sea captain and died before Fields was three. At the age of 14, Fields took a job at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. His first published poetry was included in the Portsmouth Journal in 1837 but he drew more attention when, on September 13, 1838, he delivered his "Anniversary Poem" to the Boston Mercantile Library Association.
In 1839, he joined William Ticknor and became junior partner in the publishing and bookselling firm known after 1846 as Ticknor and Fields, and after 1868 as Fields, Osgood & Company. With this company, Fields was the publisher of leading contemporary American writers, with whom he was on terms of close personal friendship. He was also the American publisher of some of the best-known British writers of his time, some of whom he also knew intimately. The first collected edition of Thomas De Quincey's works (20 vols., 1850-1855) was published by his firm. As a publisher, he was characterized by a somewhat rare combination of keen business acumen and sound, discriminating literary taste, and as a man he was known for his geniality and charm of manner. Ticknor and Fields built their company to have a substantial influence in the literary scene which writer and editor Nathaniel Parker Willis acknowledged in a letter to Fields: "Your press is the announcing-room of the country's Court of Poetry."
In 1854, Fields married his second wife, Annie Adams, who was an author herself.
Ticknor and Fields purchased The Atlantic Monthly for $10,000 and, about two years later in May 1861, Fields took over the editorship when James Russell Lowell left. In 1871, he retired from business and from his editorial duties and devoted himself to lecturing and writing. He also edited, with Edwin P. Whipple, A Family Library of British Poetry (1878).
Fields died in Boston on April 24, 1881. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Item ID: 1327