As everyone who has undertaken a major research and writing project knows, the completed book would never have been possible without support and critical feedback from colleagues, friends, librarians, family members, students, and, in my case, unnamed readers for the University of North Carolina Press. I wish to thank all those who helped to make the book better; any flaws are due to me, not to those who gave me such good advice.
Two experiences helped to plant the idea for this study. One was The History of the Book Seminar that I attended at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, ably led by Ann Fabian and the AAS’S staff. Without this seminar, I would never have thought to consider the publication and circulation of the book’s that form the heart of my study. I appreciated being pushed hard to expand this aspect of my work by one of the press’s readers. The second experience was teaching a course titled “The Personal Narrative in American History and Culture.” In preparing for this course, I read widely about first-person narratives, and this reading stimulated me to think in new ways about abolitionist autobiographies. I also wish to thank students at Goucher College, the University of Southern Denmark, and Utrecht University who participated in lively discussions about many different American autobiographies. They helped keep my interest and enthusiasm strong in my research project.
During research trips, kind friends Peter and Wrexie Bardaglio and Kennie Lyman and Andrew Harper provided generous hospitality and willing ears to hear the latest ideas I had about my project. At more times than I care to remember, Chris Clark, Elizabeth Clapp, Michael Pierson, and Stacey Robertson listened to my attempt to explain what I was trying to do and encouraged me to keep on thinking and writing. The generosity of several people in sharing their research and expertise with me continues to astound me. Stacey Robertson provided me with ample material about Parker Pillsbury Michael Winship helped a scholar whom he did not know personally understand some key Houghton Mifflin records. Thomas Hamm, whom I met just before the book was complete, plied me with helpful information