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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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They affect but a limited faith in the fact that
the success of a book-like that of a man   is generally
according to its merits, believing much that book-sel-
lers, times, and seasons, influence sales to a dispro-
portionately important extent.       Walking so closely
by ledger and day-book they are impolitically ignorant
of the temperament and feelings of men whom it
behoves them to understand, and accustomed to
monstrously over estimate their own position.   I do
not, for a moment, want to drop into the miserable
cant about ogre-publishers and victim authors; but
I really think these men might find it to their ad-
vantage to engage a person of tact and intuition just
to receive and deal with people.         They have no
true knowledge of they wares they deal in, and some-
times vent amusing Sir Oracleisms. (I heard one
give an opinion that  twas a much easier thing to
write a book of the present day   say  Pendennis  or
the the  Newcomes    than a mediaval Walter-
scottish romance!)      Yet  tis good training to
go through, this.      One learns a great deal by his
first book.          I have got to regard it very coolly,
not  tis done   as a sort of investment, put aside
somewhere, which may turn up to my advantage, some-
day.          I have derived some self confidence by the fact
of its completion.                          The Picayune is not yet
sold.       Mrs Levison advertised it, at first without
mentioning it by name, subsequently with.    Bellew
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Eight: page one hundred and eighty-one
Description:Regarding his feelings about publishers, the Masons in particular.
Subject:Bellew, Frank; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Levison, William, Mrs.; Mason Brothers (New York, N.Y.); Publishers and publishing
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-02-02


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Eight
Description:Includes descriptions of the process of publishing his book, ''The Physiology of New-York Boarding Houses;'' his poor mental state upon returning to New York from England; meeting Walt Whitman; visits with Fanny Fern, James Parton, and Harriet Jacobs' daughter Louisa who is living with them; a visit to the Catskill Mountains with the Edwards family; moving into the boarding house at 132 Bleecker Street; working on the publication ''European'' with Colonel Hugh Forbes; the death of publisher William Levison and his daughter Ellen in his boarding house; visiting the scene of the murder of a dentist to get a sketch of the suspect; visiting Newport, Rhode Island, on assignment to sketch for Frank Leslie; and the death of his brother-in-law, Joseph Greatbatch.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Medical care; Mental illness; Publishers and publishing; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Newport, Rhode Island
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.