Book Collecting

Ticknor & Fields

Ticknor and Fields was an American publishing company based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is perhaps best known as the publisher of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden or Life in the Woods and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as well as other works of prominent nineteenth century authors.

William Davis Ticknor and John Allen established the business, which operated out of the Old Corner Bookstore, in 1832. Shortly after, James Thomas Fields joined Ticknor and Allen as a junior partner and then Allen withdrew from the firm. Ticknor chose to continue the business under William D. Ticknor and Company. In 1845, John Reed and Fields became partners and the imprint was changed to Ticknor, Reed, and Fields. Reed retired in 1854 and the imprint became the well-known Ticknor and Fields.

In its early years, Ticknor and Fields was exceptionally prosperous thanks to the varied, yet complimentary talents of Ticknor and Fields; Ticknor gave his attention to the financial and manufacturing departments while Fields focused on literary relations and social aspects of the business. In the 1860s, the firm purchased and printed the Atlantic Monthly and the North American Review. Ticknor and Fields compiled an impressive list of authors, Horatio Alger, Lydia Maria Child, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alfred Tennyson, Mark Twain, and John Greenleaf Whittier.

In 1868, James R. Osgood joined the firm and Ticknor and Fields became Fields, Osgood and Co. After a series of changes, Fields, Osgood and Co. evolved into Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

First Edition Identification

In first editions published by Ticknor and Fields as well as those by Wm. D. Ticknor and Co. and Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, the same date must appear on the title page and the copyright page with no additional printings listed.