George Palmer Putnam (1814 - 1872)

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Birthplace: Brunswick, ME, USA
Death: Died
Managed by: Mandy Tan
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About George Palmer Putnam

George Palmer Putnam (February 7, 1814 – December 20, 1872) was an important American book publisher.

Putnam was born in Brunswick, Maine. On moving to New York City, Putnam was given his first job by Jonathan Leavitt, who subsequently published Putnam's first book. In 1838, George Palmer Putnam and John Wiley established the publishing house of "Wiley & Putnam" in New York City. In 1841, Putnam went to London, UK where he set up a branch office, the first American to ever do so. In 1848 he returned to New York where he dissolved the partnership with John Wiley and established "G. Putnam Broadway," publishing a variety of works including quality illustrated books. In 1852, with the assistance of George William Curtis and other partners, he founded "Putnam's Magazine." His company was the official publisher to the 1853 New York World's Fair.

George Putnam published the books of many classic American authors including his close friend Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, James Fenimore Cooper, and Edgar Allan Poe. He served as secretary for the Publishers' association for many years and was an advocate of the creation of International Copyright Law. During the American Civil War, he participated in the Loyal Publication Society of New York, and functioned as the United States government's Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in New York City.

An important member of the New York artistic community, Putnam was the leading publisher of art books in his time and became one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its first Superintendent. He is also believed to have been the first publisher to offer "royalties" to authors like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Thomas Carlyle.

George Putnam married Victorine Haven. Their daughter, Mary Corinna Putnam (1842-1906) was the first woman to become a member of the Academy of Medicine and one of their sons, Herbert Putnam (1861-1955), became a noted librarian who served as the United States Librarian of Congress.

On Putnam's death in 1872 his sons George, John and Irving inherited the business and the firm's name was changed to G. P. Putnam's Sons. George Putnam published his father's memoirs in 1912 and in 2000, his life's story was told again under the title "George Palmer Putnam - Representative American Publisher" by Ezra Greenspan, Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina.

George Palmer Putnam's grandson and namesake, George P. Putnam (1887-1950), was part of the family business but was also an author and explorer who was married to the famous aviatrix, Amelia Earhart. His granddaughter Brenda Putnam was a well respected sculptor and author.

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George Putnam's Timeline

1814
February 7, 1814
Brunswick, ME, USA
1841
March 16, 1841
Age 27
New York, NY, USA
1842
August 31, 1842
Age 28
London, England
1844
April 2, 1844
Age 30
London, UK
1846
1846
Age 31
1849
July 17, 1849
Age 35
Staten Island, NY, USA
1852
1852
Age 37
1855
1855
Age 40
1856
1856
Age 41
1858
1858
Age 43