Dating American Tract Society Publications Through 1876
from External Evidences: A Series of Tables
by S.J. Wolfe, cataloger, American Antiquarian Society
The New England Religious Tract Society (also known as the New England Tract Society) was organized May 23, 1814 and incorporated in June 1816. The name was changed by an act of the Massachusetts legislature in June 1823 to "American Tract Society." In 1825 the Boston-based American Tract Society merged with the New-York Religious Tract Society to form a new organization, which called itself The American Tract Society. The American Tract Society (Boston, Mass.) became the New England Branch of the New York American Tract Society, while maintaining its autonomy.
In 1859 a major break occurred between the two American Tract Societies, due to a difference of opinion over the issue of whether or not to publish tracts which concerned "the sin of slavery." The American Tract Society (Boston, Mass.) continued to publish and distribute tracts under the name "American Tract Society." The New York-based American Tract Society promptly (1859) opened a New England Branch in Boston; they also operated major branches in Rochester, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Chicago, Ill., and secondary New York city branch. (It would be impossible to list all of the cities which contained ATS branches-some cities contained more than one). The American Tract Society (Boston, Mass.) maintained major branches in New York City and in Chicago, Ill. as well as in other cities across the United States.
The two societies rejoined briefly in 1868, under a "harmonious agreement" which allowed the Boston ATS to operate in New York and vice versa, but re-separated in 1869. In 1878 they rejoined once more, with the American Tract Society (Boston, Mass.) again becoming the New England Branch of the New York-based American Tract Society, while maintaining its autonomy. (1)
The following are tables of addresses for the various locations ofthe American Tract Society. (2)
The New England Religious Tract Society and the American Tract Society
|Flagg & Gould||1823-1826|
|Congress St.||1827 (3)|
|32 Congress St.||1828-1830|
|24 Congress St.||1831-1841 HREF="#4">(4)|
|or 114 Washington St.||1832-1840|
|148 Tremont St.||1869|
|164 Tremont St.||1870-1871|
|117 Washington St.||1872|
|219 Washington St. and 10 Bromfield||1873|
|219 Washington St.||1874-1875|
|381 Washington St.|| HREF="#5">(5)|
Chicago Branch of the [Boston, Mass.] American Tract Society
|51 LaSalle St.||1862-1867|
|84 Washington St.||1868-1870|
|Not listed in the 1871 "Fire directory"||width="200">1871|
|Seminary Union Park||1872|
|70 Adams St.||1873*|
|70 & 72 Adams St.||1874*|
|72 Adams St.||1875*|
|70 Adams St.||
*Based on directory listings of Rev. Peabody as director of the American
Tract Society (Boston, Mass.)
New York City branch of the [Boston, Mass.]
American Tract Society
|13 Bible House (Astor Place)||width=200>1860-1870 (6)|
The American Tract Society HREF="#7">(7)
New York (Main Branch)
|87 Nassau St. (cor. Spruce)||1825-1827|
|144 Nassau St.||1827-1832 HREF="#8">(8)|
|150 Nassau St.||1832-|
A variant (possibly a typographical error) appears in the 1839 New
York city directory, which shows the address as 152 Nassau St.
The American Tract Society used the imprint "150 Nassau-Street,
near the city-hall" from about 1832 to about 1838. (9)
A new typeface was introduced in 1847 or 1848 which was taller and
more delicate. (10)
The format of the imprint seems to also have changed at this time. HREF="#11">(11)
As a general rule, if the imprint appears in the form
PUBLISHED BY/ THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,/ 150 Nassau-street,
New-York, it is printed in the old typeface.
If the imprint appears as
PUBLISHED BY THE/ AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,/ 150 NASSAU-STREET, NEW YORK,
it is printed in the new typeface.
New York (Auxiliary branch)
|9 Spruce St.||1846|
|100 Nassau St.||1859-1860|
|310 4th Ave.||1871-1872|
|905 Broadway||1873 HREF="#12">(12)|
|303 Chestnut St.||1854-1857|
|929 Chestnut St.||1858-1865|
|1210 Chestnut St.||1866-1869|
|1408 Chestnut St.||1870-1875|
|1512 Chestnut St.|||
|120 State St.||1854-1858|
|75 State St.||1859-|
|163 Walnut St.||1850-1873|
|176 Elm St.||1874-|
|86 Lake St,||1853-1854|
|68 Lake St.||1854-1855|
|50 LaSalle St.||1855-1857|
|69 State St.||1858|
|53 Washington St. (Not listed 1860-1861)||width=200>1859-1860|
|51 LaSalle St.||1862-1863|
|170 Clark St.||1864-1866|
|7 Custom House Place||1866-1869|
|84 Washington St.||1869|
|45 Madison (Not listed in the 1871 "Fire directory")||width=200>1870|
|467 1/2 Michigan Ave.||1872*|
|603 Wabash St.||1872*|
|116 Randolph St.||1873*|
|243 Park Ave.||1874*|
|263 Park Ave.||1875-*|
*Based on directory listings of Rev. Glen Wood as director of the American
Boston, Mass. (American Tract Society. New
|104 Washington St.||1868 HREF="#13">(13) -1870|
|116 or 177 Washington St.||1871-1875|
|23 Franklin St.|||
New York City booksellers,
HREF="#printers">printers, stereotypers and
with the American Tract Society
John P. Haven
|142 Nassau St.||1827-1831|
|148 Nassau St.||1832-1835|
|158 Nassau St.||1836 (possibly a typo)|
|148 Nassau St.||1837-1839|
|279 Eighteenth St.||1843|
Daniel Fanshaw was the first printer for the American Tract
was dismissed in 1846.
Egbert, Hovey & King
|374 Pearl St.||1846-1847|
Became Egbert & King in 1850
Hurd & Houghton (Melancthon Hurd and H.O. Houghton)
|13 Astor Place||1871-1872|
|13 Astor & 136 8th St.||1872-|
Edward O. Jenkins
|114 Nassau St.||1844-1852|
|114 & 116 Nassau St.||1852-1853|
|114 Nassau St.||1853-1855|
|26 (or 24) Frankfort St.||1855-1861|
|20 N. William St.||1861-1864|
|223 William and/& 20 N. William||1864-|
John D. Flagg
|no address listed||1856-1867|
Thomas B. Smith & Son
|82 Beekman St.||1859-1860|
Thomas B. Smith
|(not listed after 1861)|
Samuel B. Thompson
|176 Center St.||1850-1851|
|13 Spruce St.||1851-1856|
|84 Beekman St.||1856-1859|
|82 Beekman St.||1859-1860|
|84 Beekman St.||1860-1864|
|(listed without occupation or address,||1864-1868)|
Boston and Cambridge, Mass. printers associated with the American
Bannister & Marvin - 1824
32 Congress St.
Bolles & Houghton (Remington Press) - 1848-1851
Houghton & Hayward (Riverside Press) - 1852
H.O. Houghton & Co. (Riverside Press) - 1853-1876
|32 Congress St.||1823-1830|
|24 Congress St.||1830-1849|
|42 Congress St.||1850-1854|
Theophilus R. Marvin & Son HREF="#16">(16)
|42 Congress St.||1855-1869|
|131 Congress St.||1870- HREF="#17">(17)|
|27 Congress St.||[1873-1874]|
|49 Frederick St.|||
Perkins & Marvin
|114 Washington St.
as Perkins, Marvin & Co.
|114 Washington St.||1834-1835|
George C. Rand & Co.
|as George C. Rand
|as George C. Rand & Avery
|as Rand, Avery & Frye
|beginning in 1869|
Albert J. Wright
|3 Water St.||1843-1850|
|as Wright & Hasty||1851-1855|
|as Albert J. Wright
1 Water St.
4 Spring Lane
|as Wright & Potter||1860-|
Wright's press was called Well Spring Press [1848-1861]
Some illustrators, artists and engravers whose
work appeared in
American Tract Society publications (18).
Bobbett & Hooper; active in New York 1855-1870; listed from 1868-
1870 as chromolithographers
J. Augustus Bogert (b. ca. 1831); active in New York 1850-1881
Robert S. Bross; active in New York 1856-1860
James Brown; active in New York 1844-1858; in St. Louis in 1859
Bross & Bogert; active in New York 1856-1857
Robert Hinshelwood (b. 1812); emigrated to America c. 1835
Jocelyns (firm); established in New York 1834; dissolved 1843
Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872)
New York Lithograph and Engraving Company; first listed in New York
directories in 1868
Johannes Adam Simon Oertel (1823-1909); emigrated to America in
William J. Pierce; active in Boston 1851-1870
Richardson and Cox; active in New York 1853-1859
Robert Roberts (b. ca. 1821); active in New York 1841-1850
Nathaniel Rudd; active in Boston 1857-1860 and later
John M. Stafford; active in New York 1847-1848
© 2001 by S.J. Wolfe
1. The information about the mergers and
American Tract Societies was taken from annual reports of the American
Tract Society; A Brief History of the American Tract Society, Instituted
at Boston, 1814, and its Relation to the American Tract Society at New
York, Instituted 1825. (Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1857); Lawrence Thompson "The
Printing and Publishing Activities of the American Tract Society From 1825
to 1850" in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 35
(1941), 81-114; correspondence with Kristen Mitrisin, archivist of the
American Tract Society (Garland, Texas) and The National Union Catalog
Pre-1956 Imprints (London: Mansell, 1968).
Addresses were compiled from city directories at the
Antiquarian Society, the Boston Public Library and other libraries, from
imprints at the American Antiquarian Society, and from notes in the
American Antiquarian Society's manuscript printer's file.
Theophilus Rogers Marvin was one of the printers for the ATS in
The Congress Street addresses reflect his address as the printer, which is
what appears in the imprint statements. According to A Brief History of
the American Tract Society, Instituted at Boston, 1814 and its Relations
to the American Tract Society at New York, Instituted 1825(Boston : Press
of T.R. Marvin, 1857), once the American Tract Soceiety was formed at New
York "the general depository was removed from Andover to Boston, and was
located in the basement of the stone church, Hanover Street, August 1826
... January 31, 1830 the depository was destoyed by fire ... It was
immediately located more advantageously than before, at no. 5 Cornhill,
and in June, 1838, was removed from that place to the building at present
occupied by the Society."
T.R. Marvin was also a partner in a bookselling business as Perkins
Marvin, and their address was 114 Washington St. from 1832-1840.
1876 was the chosen cut-off date for the American Antiquarian Society
collections, and so this is the last date checked for ATS activities. The
angle brackets indicate that this date might possibly be extended as a
result of researching directories past 1876.
Not found in directories after this date.
The branch addresses are for cities whose directories listed the ATS.
New Orleans and Charleston, S.C. sometimes appear in imprints but my
searching of the city directories, ATS annual reports and ATS Library
archives did not turn up street addresses for the ATS in those cities.
There were literally HUNDREDS of depositories and it would be impossible
to list them all and their addresses.
Most printed sources state that the street address changed in 1833.
However, the American Tract Magazine 7:7 (July 1832) has the 150 Nassau
Street Address in the imprint.
Based on tracts catalogued by the North American Imprints Project at
American Antiquarian Society.
Lawrence Thompson "The Printing and Publishing activities of the
American Tract Society from 1825 to 1850" in The Papers of the
Bibliographical Society of America 35 (1941), 92. Thompson gives the date
as 1848. However, the twenty-third annual report of the ATS (1848) states
on p. 21 "The experience of another year has very satisfactorily confirmed
the unanimous judgment of the committee which led to the reconstruction of
the Society's house, and the procuring of adequate machinery for doing the
printing, under the direction of capable men, on the Society's premises.
The style of the Society's printing at the present time, and especially
the very neat manner in which it is now enabled to issue works illustrated
with engravings, appears to have given universal satisfaction ... "
Daniel Fanshaw's obituary, on p. 17 of the annual report for 1860, states
that he "was the Society's printer for twenty-two years, from its
till 1847 when its present building was erected, since which it has done
its own printing." Jane Pomeroy, who is working on a complete catalogue of
the works of Alexander Anderson, argues for an even earlier date of 1846.
Anderson engraved a great many illustrations for the ATS and Pomeroy's
research shows experimentation with different typefaces as early as 1846
(which is the date given by Thompson for the dismissal of Daniel Fanshaw
as the ATS printer, which is disputed in Fanshaw's obituary.) It is quite
likely that the changeover occurred during 1847 and 1848 as old stocks of
tracts were used up and new ones printed on the Society's own presses with
different types that those which Fanshaw used.
Based on observations made comparing the old and new typefaces on
various ATS imprints.
Not listed in directories after this year.
According to Kristin Mitrisin, archivist of the ATS, the Society
a new branch in Boston, at 104 Washington Street, in October of 1868.
L. Thompson, 113. Fanshaw's obituary appears on p. 17 in the ATS
report for 1860, and states that Fanshaw served as the printer for
"twenty-two years, from its formation till 1847 when the present building
was erected, since which it has done its own printing."
Also as Bannister & Marvin, 1824 and Perkins & Marvin, 1828-1833, and
1836-1841 and as Perkins, Marvin & Co., 1834-1835. Became Theophilus
Rogers and Son in 1855.
There are some imprints during this tenure which just state "Press of
T.R. Marvin" and which list a 42 Congress St. address.
Dates are incomplete or uncertain due to the firm not being listed in
some directories which were consulted.
Activity dates for illustrators and engravers are taken from George
C. Groce and David H. Wallace New-York Historical Society Dictionary of
Artists in America, 1564-1860 New York: New Haven: Yale University Press,
1957. Of course the earliest and most prolific engraver for the American
Tract Society was Alexander Anderson. According to Jane Pomeroy, whose
work was mentioned earlier in the discussion of the date of typeface
change, Anderson produced over 700 cuts for the ATS and his work continued
to be used long after his personal activity with the ATS had ended.
- by S.J. Wolfe, Senior Cataloger