Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Eastburn to Thomas Jefferson, 15 January 1817

From James Eastburn

New york. 15 Jany 1817.


Will you permit me to lay before you the plan of a course of publications which, if due encouragement is given I shall be proud to undertake?1 It has met the decided approbation of a few literary Gentlemen here, but it requires the recommendation of all those who have filled, or are now filling, eminent stations in the country to make it successfull—If Sir on having perused the plan, you can recommend it to public attention you will I believe promote the interest of literature & confer2 a lasting obligation on

Sir Your3 mo: obed hb st

James Eastburn

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “His Exy Thos Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Jan. 1817 and so recorded in SJL.

James Eastburn (d. 1829), merchant, bookseller, and printer, emigrated from England to New York City by 1803. He worked there as a wholesale merchant until 1812 and then became a bookseller and publisher. For a number of years prior to his retirement around 1824, Eastburn also operated a reading room on Broadway. He was an officer of the New-York Bible Society and the New-York Historical Society, and he helped found a savings bank in his adopted city in 1819 (Hettie A. Walton and Eastburn Reeder, The Eastburn Family [1903], 186; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1803]: 139; [1812]: 98; [1813]: 130; [1821]: 166; [1823]: 165; [1824]: 168; New-York Commercial Advertiser, 27 May 1806; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., New York, 1810, 1820; New York Commercial Advertiser, 5 Feb. 1813; James Grant Wilson, ed., The Poetical Writings of Fitz-Greene Halleck [1869], 375; Sixth Report of the Board of Managers of the New-York Bible Society [New York, 1815]; New York Columbian, 12 Oct. 1816; New-York Columbian, 14 Jan. 1818; Laws of the State of New-York, passed at the forty-second session of the legislature [Albany, 1819], 66, 68; New-York Spectator, 30 Oct., 13 Nov. 1829).

The enclosed plan of a course of publications, not found, may have been an early version of Eastburn, Prospectus for printing by subscription, by James Eastburn & Co. … Limited Editions of Scarce Books, in the various Branches of Literature, from the Sixteenth Century Down to the Present Time (New York, 1817). On 10 Jan. 1817 Eastburn sent President James Madison a letter covering, presumably, the same “plan,” which is there described as “the prospectus of a course of publications” (DLC: Madison Papers).

1Manuscript: “undetake.”

2Manuscript: “confr.”

3Manuscript: “Yur.”

Index Entries

  • Eastburn, James; identified search
  • Eastburn, James; letter from search
  • Eastburn, James; publication plans of search