In 1865, the firm removed from the old corner stand to a new and elegant establishment on Tremont Street, near the Common, and in the same year Mr. Howard Ticknor, who had succeeded his father in the business, withdrew from it. New partners were admitted, and the style of the firm became Fields, Osgood & Co., Mr. Fields still remaining at the head of the house.
The new book store is one of the handsomest and most attractive in the country. The store proper is eighty feet deep by fifty feet wide, and is fitted up handsomely in hard wood.
There is no paint about it, every piece of wood in use presenting its natural appearance. On the right in entering are the book shelves and counters, and on the opposite side the desks devoted to the magazine department. At the rear are the counting rooms and the private office of Mr. J.R. Osgood, the active business man of the concern. The second story is elegantly and tastefully fitted up. It contains the luxurious private office of Mr. Fields, in which are to be seen excellent likenesses of his two dearest friends, Longfellow and Dickens; and the parlor of the establishment, which is known as the Author’s Room. This is a spacious and handsomely-appointed room, whose windows, overlooking the Common, command one of the prettiest views in New England. It is supplied with the leading periodicals of the day, and choice volumes of current literature. Here one may always find one or more of the “gifted few,” whose names are familiar to the reader; and frequent reunions of the book-making fraternity are designed to be held here, under the genial auspices of the literary partner of the house.
It is not often that men win success in both literature and mercantile life. Good authors have usually made very poor business managers, and vice versa; but the subject of this memoir, besides winning a great success as a merchant, and that in one of the most hazardous branches of mercantile life, has also won an enviable reputation as a man of letters. His poems have made him well known, both in this country and in England. Besides the poems recited before various literary associations, he has published two volumes of fugitive pieces. The first appeared in 1843, while he was still a clerk, and the second in 1858. His poems abound in humor, pathos, and a delicate, beautiful fancy. One of his friends has said of him:
“Little of the sad travail of the historic poet has Mr. Fields known. Of the emaciated face, the seedy garment, the collapsed purse, the dog-eared and often rejected manuscript, he has never known, save from well-authenticated tradition. His muse was born in sunshine, and has only been sprinkled with the tears of affection. Every effort has been cheered to the echo, and it is impossible for so genial a fellow to fail of an ample and approving audience for whatever may fall from his lip or pen.”
The following lines, from his second volume, will serve as a specimen of the “homely beauty” of Mr. Fields’ muse, though it hardly sets forth all his powers: