English, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in RESOURCES FOR AMERICAN LITERARY STUDY, Vol. 28, 2002. Copyright 2003 AMS Press, Inc.


Ezra Greenspan's biography of nineteenth-century American publisher George Palmer Putnam should be of great interest to many scholars of nineteenth-century American literature, whether or not they specialize in publishing history. Among the American authors and literary figures who made significant appearances in Putnam's personal and professional life and thus in this biography were: William Cullen Bryant, James and Susan Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Margaret Fuller, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Sophia Peabody and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Caroline Kirkland, William Gilmore Simms, James Hall, John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry David Thoreau, and Susan and Anna Warner. ... Subsequent to the publication of Greenspan's Putnam biography, the Gale Group published a Dictionary of Literary Biography documentary volume on "The House of Putnam," edited by Greenspan. Coupled together, the biography and documentary volume represent a rare opportunity to read one scholar's narrative interpretation of a publisher's life, as well as many of the primary documents from which he derived that narrative.