Harper, James

Co-founded Harper Bros. publishers, “Know-Nothing” NYC Mayor 1844-45, established 1st municipal police force

Price: $50.00

Description:
(1795-1869) New York publisher and politician in the early-mid 19th century. Printer’s apprentice in NYC, with brother John founded J. & J. Harper in New York in 1817, supported by a loan from their father to purchase two Rampage printing presses, some typesetting stock, and simple binding equipment. They published their first imprint as publishers in 1818. The name was changed to Harper & Brothers in 1825 when their two other brothers joined them. With the name change the company also broadened their printing business to also include publishing services. Their first big success was Maria Monk's Awful Disclosures (1836). Often described as the "Uncle Tom's Cabin of nativism", the book went on to sell 300,000 copies for Harper & Brothers, published during a time of extreme anti-Catholicism and called "the most influential single work of anti-Catholic propaganda in America's history". In 1844 he was elected mayor of New York for a one-year term, running on a Know-Nothing, Nativist platform of anti-Catholicism and anti-immigration, defeating Locofoco Party candidate Jonathan I. Coddington and Whig Morris Franklin. He established the 1st municipal police force in 1844, based on planning undertaken earlier by Peter Cooper. In-fighting between the city alderman delayed full implementation of the reform plan, and Harper was only able to select 200 men for the force before he was ousted by voters in April 1845. He outfitted his "Harper's Police" in blue uniforms, which they felt made them targets of violence, and they lobbied successfully to wear street clothes. Harper banished free-roaming pigs from the streets of New York, and began work on establishing a citywide sanitation system. Served as a Vassar trustee until his death in 1869. Harper & Brothers became Harper & Row in 1962 and in 1990, HarperCollins. Partly-printed DS as Mayor, August 1 1844, 3 ½ x 7 ¼ red printed note signed also by Chas. A. Whitney, Clerk, and D. D. Williamson, Comptroller, warrant to the City Treasurer to pay $2,000 as a temporary probate loan to Maria Hicks or attorney Henry J. Hagner; endorsed on verso by Hagner.

Condition: Very good, slight nick at left edge
Type:Document






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