The Press: Harper's Century

By 1850, New York's Harper brothers—James, John, Joseph Wesley and Fletcher —had made a name for themselves* in the book-publishing business, still had some idle press time on their hands. To keep presses and employees profitably busy they started Harper's New Monthly Magazine, a sort of undigested Reader's Digest of fiction of the day, bought the galley proofs of the current works of Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope and other English greats, and ran them as serials. Overnight, Harper's became a success. Literary Americans became such fans of the magazine, not only for its fiction but for its factual articles on U.S. life,...

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