Originally Posted: July 9, 2019
Throughout Ezra Greenspan’s career, the National Endowment for the Humanities has supported his work on groundbreaking biographies that have brought new perspectives and voices to college and high school classrooms. From his first book on George Palmer Putnam, to his recent biography of William Wells Brown, to his current project, a biography of Frederick Douglass’s family, NEH funding has helped Greenspan illuminate the lives of historical figures and the histories of books and publishing for a broad audience.
George Palmer Putnam: Representative American Publisher(2000) explores the life of nineteenth-century America’s most significant publisher, a man whose career and investments gave rise to modern commercial publishing in the United States and fostered the careers of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allen Poe. An NEH fellowship helped Greenspan undertake the in-depth archival research necessary to complete the project. The book had a significant impact on literary studies in the United States, helping the study of publishers and publishing history to become a major part of the field. Greenspan is a founding editor of Book History, a peer-reviewed journal. READ MORE