James Harper, Mayor Of New York City

With corruption rampant in New York City politics, the newly formed American Republican Party convinced James Harper, one of the brothers who had founded J. & J. Harper in 1817, to run for mayor. More

The Harper Fire of 1853

The Harper offices in New York City were claimed by fire in 1853, when a plumber lit a lamp with a roll of paper and then attempted to extinguish the burning roll in a tub of water. More

Education and Publishing

Beginning in 1830, the Harper brothers believed that the increasingly literate populace might clamor for turnkey collections. More

Herman Melville and Moby-Dick

Harper & Brothers turned down Herman Melville’s first book, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, and it was released to strong sales by another publisher. More

The Pre-Packaged Library

The Harper brothers created collections of titles that allowed readers to amass an entire library instead of buying just a single book. More

Social Change: Thomas Nast, Illustrator

Illustrator Thomas Nast first made his name documenting the Civil War in all its gruesome reality, but he is best known for developing the political cartoon form and our modern depictions of Santa Claus. More

William Collins

Born on the south side of Glasgow in the village of Pollokshaws in 1789, William Collins left school to work as a weaver and clerk in a local cotton mill. More

Mark Twain

In 1866, with mostly newspaper articles and other short works to his name, Mark Twain accepted an assignment from the Sacramento Union to produce a weekly column from Hawaii. More

A Christmas Carol

Dickens’s beloved classic of the meaning of Christmas that has inspired countless adaptations. More

George Eliot

Mary Anne Evans, born in 1819, led a turbulent life that often broke with Victorian social norms. More

The Woman in White

One of the earliest works of detective fiction, this story caused a sensation with readers at the time. More

Social Change: Women Writers

In the mid-late 1800s, Harper & Brothers reprinted several milestone titles in the history of British feminist literature as well as the global canon, such as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), as well as George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1872). More

The Steam-Powered Press

For years, the Harper brothers relied on a white draft horse named Dobbin, who plodded a circular path in the basement of their offices, turning a wooden shaft that powered the Treadwell hand press two floors above, until new technology sent him out to pasture. More