Samuel Griswold Goodrich - Encyclopedia




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SAMUEL GRISWOLD GOODRICH (1793-1860), American author, better known under the pseudonym of "Peter Parley," was born, the son of a Congregational minister, at Ridgefield, Connecticut, on the 19th of August 1793. He was largely self-educated, became an assistant in a country store at Danbury, Conn., in 1808, and at Hartford, Conn., in 1811, and from 1816 tO 1822 was a bookseller and publisher at Hartford. He visited Europe in 1823-1824, and in 1826 removed to Boston, where he continued in the publishing business, and from 1828 to 1842 he published an illustrated annual, the Token, to which he was a frequent contributor both in prose and verse. A selection from these contributions was published in 1841 under the title Sketches from a Student's Window. The Token also contained some of the earliest work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, N. P. Willis, Henry W. Longfellow and Lydia Maria Child. In 1841 he established Merry's Museum, which he continued to edit till 1854. In 1827 he began, under the name of "Peter Parley," his series of books for the young, which embraced geography,. biography, history, science and miscellaneous tales. Of these he was the sole author of only a few, but in 1857 he wrote that he was "the author and editor of about 170 volumes," and that about seven millions had been sold. In 1857 he published Recollections of a Lifetime, which contains a list both of the works of which he was the author or editor and of the spurious works published under his name. By his writings and publications he amassed a large fortune. He was chosen a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1836, and of the state Senate in 1837, his competitor in the last election being Alexander H. Everett, and in1851-1853he was consul at Paris, where he remained till 1855, taking advantage of his stay to have several of his works translated into French. After his return to America ' he published, in 1859, Illustrated History of the Animal Kingdom. He died, in New York, on the 9th of May 1860.

His brother, Charles Augustus Goodrich (1790-1862), a Congregational clergyman, published various ephemeral books, and helped to compile some of the "Peter Parley" series.

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