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Charles Dickens at 200

James T. Fields and Dickens

Charles Dickens' handwriting

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By the 1840s Ticknor & Fields was the leading publisher of contemporary American authors, some of whom were Fields' close friends. The Boston firm also was the American publisher for some of the best-known British authors of the time, and they paid royalties to these writers at a time when other American publishers pirated their works with impunity.

Fields first met Charles Dickens in Boston during Dickens' first American tour in 1842, and they remained friends. First published in 1871, Fields' Yesterdays with Authors, includes his reminiscences of Thackeray, Hawthorne, Wordsworth, Dickens, and a few others. He includes portraits and letters, such as a facsimile of Dickens' letter to Mrs. Fields, written in March 1868, while he was on his last American tour. Dickens discusses when they might meet in Boston, asking her: "Send me a hopeful word to Springfield (Massasoit House) in reply, please." Dickens came to Springfield, Mass., during both his 1842 and 1868 American tours. Annie Fields, the publisher's second wife, was at the center of Boston's literary and philanthropic life, both during and after her husband's death in 1881.

Yesterdays with Authors. By James T. Fields
Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1900

PURCHASED ON THE ELIZABETH MCCONNELL, CLASS OF 1918,
AND ANNE L. BOHNING, CLASS OF 1915 FUND

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