“A Word of Apology” from Harper & Brothers regarding the Harper fire of 1853

In this “Word of Apology” published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in January 1854, the Harper brothers address the devastating fire that ruined their New York City offices on Cliff Street in late 1853. They outline all that was suffered, including the “some six hundred persons, having parents, brothers and sisters, or wives and children, dependent on their labor” that had for a time been unemployed as a result of the machinery and entire inventory of books being completely destroyed. The loss was “valued in aggregate at over a million of dollars.” However, the article expresses their determination to move forward, and shares a brief history of all that Harper & Brothers had accomplished in their approximately thirty years of business.

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