This group portrait shows 3 giants of Boston publishing. William Ticknor (right) and James T. Fields (left) operated the Ticknor & Fields publishing company at the Old Corner Bookstore at the corner of School and Washington Streets, Boston. Nathaniel Hawthorne (center) was one of their talented authors. His “Scarlet Letter” was published by T&F. Such hats, such coats! Photo by J.W. Black, whose photo studio was nearby.
In 1635, Boston established the first “public” Latin or Grammar School in America, resolving that Philemon Purmont, a shopkeeper, “be entreated to become a schoolmaster for the teaching and nourtering of the children with us.” The original Latin School was demolished in 1844 to make way for City Hall. This plaque decorates the sidewalk nearby.
Ideas have flourished at this site since 1636 when William Hutchinson occupied it and his wife Anne held religious meetings that led to her excommunication. Thomas Crease constructed this brick shop with second-floor living quarters and a deep gambrel roof in 1711. Ten bookstores have used this building since 1828. It became known as “Parnassus Corner” under publisher William Ticknor.