Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Wiley & Halsted’s Circular Soliciting Books for Seamen, [ca. 22 July 1821]


Wiley & Halsted’s Circular Soliciting Books for Seamen

[ca. 22 July 1821]


A Gentleman who has done as much as you have in the cause of humanity, need only be informed that an exertion is making to better the condition of Seamen; to effect which purpose, it is intended to furnish each Ship on going to Sea, with 10 to 25 volumes of History, Voyages, Travels, Geography, Navigation, and Moral and Religious works.

They shall be distributed faithfully, and each Captain will give his receipt that they shall be kept in safety, and for the sole use of the Crews.

The smallest volumes, either Old or New, received with thanks, at

No. 3 Wall-Street.

Printed circular (DLC: TJ Papers, 220:39344); conjoined with covering letter; undated; underscoring added by hand.

Wiley & Halsted was a bookselling firm in New York City that commenced operation in 1819 and dissolved three years later. It consisted of partners Charles Wiley (ca. 1782–1826) and Oliver Halsted (1786–1857). A native of New York City, Wiley was employed as a printer there by 1807. He worked both alone and in partnerships as a printer and bookseller, including participation in the Franklin Company in 1810, Van Winkle & Wiley, 1814–17, and Charles Wiley & Company, 1818–19. Early in the 1820s Wiley published five of James Fenimore Cooper’s novels. Halsted was born in New Jersey. Soon after the dissolution of Wiley & Halsted he was imprisoned for debt in Newark, New Jersey. Halsted continued operating bookstores in New York City until the final year of his life, specializing in works on law. Between about 1834 and 1841 he was a partner in the bookselling firm of Halsted & Voorhies. Despite his apparent lack of formal medical training, Halsted also published his personal treatment for dyspepsia in 1830 and treated patients seeking a cure for the condition. In 1844 he received a patent for “a machine for giving Exercise to Dyspeptics and other Invalids.” Six years later Halsted listed his profession as “physician.” He moved permanently in about 1853 to Morristown, New Jersey (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 [1807]: 468; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., Flatbush, 1810, New York, 1820, 1850; John Hammond Moore, Wiley: One Hundred and Seventy Five Years of Publishing [1982]; George L. McKay, comp., A Register of Artists, Engravers, Booksellers, Bookbinders, Printers & Publishers in New York City, 1633–1820 [1942], 33, 74, 77; Sidney F. Huttner and Elizabeth Stege Huttner, comps., A Register of Artists, Engravers, Booksellers, Bookbinders, Printers & Publishers in New York City, 1821–42 [1993], 105, 245; Descendants of Rebecca Ogden, 1729–1806, and Caleb Halsted, 1721–1784 [(1907)], 3, 12–3; New York Commercial Advertiser, 16 Sept. 1817; New-York Evening Post, 19 Apr. 1820; New York National Advocate, 2 Aug. 1822; Newark Centinel of Freedom, 1 Oct. 1822; New-York American, 10 Jan., 24 Mar. 1826; Halsted, A Full and Accurate Account of the New Method of Curing Dyspepsia, Discovered and Practised by O. Halsted [1830]; Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania and American Repertory, 3d ser., 8 [1844]: 303; Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 32 [1845]: 258–9; The New-York City Directory, for 1853–1854 [(1853)], 281; H. Wilson, comp., Trow’s New-York City Directory for 1854–55 [(1854)], 317; Wilson, comp., Trow’s New York City Directory. For the Year Ending May 1, 1857 [(1856)], 348; New York Evening Post, 25 July 1857).

Wiley & Halsted had recently announced that “Donations from the opulent continue to be received in Books or Cash” at their store for the benefit of “Sailor’s Floating Libraries” (New-York Evening Post, 24 July 1821).

Index Entries

  • Halsted, Oliver; identified search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; requests for donation of books from search
  • libraries; for sailors search
  • Wiley, Charles; identified search
  • Wiley & Halsted (New York firm); and books for sailors search
  • Wiley & Halsted (New York firm); circular from search
  • Wiley & Halsted (New York firm); identified search