One of the most widely known and generally useful of these at Cambridge — whether in his active youth or in the patient and lonely seclusion of his later years — was John Bartlett, best known as the author of the dictionary entitled Familiar quotations.
He was born in Plymouth, June 14, 1820, was educated in the public schools of that town, and in 1836 entered the bookbinding establishment connected with the University bookstore in Cambridge, under John Owen, who was Longfellow's first publisher.
In the next year Bartlett became a clerk in the bookstore, and soon showed remarkable talent for the business.
In 1846 Mr. Owen failed, and Bartlett remained with his successor, George Nichols, but became himself the proprietor in 1849.
He had shown himself in this position an uncommonly good publisher and adviser of authors.
He had there published three editions of his Familiar quotations, gradually enlarging the book from the beginning.
In 1859 he sold out to Sev