Little arrived in Boston early in life. He entered a shipping house, and around 1826-1827 worked with booksellers Hilliard, Gray, Little & Wilkins in Boston, along with William Hilliard, Harrison Gray, and John H. Wilkins. He worked there until 1837, when he formed his partnership with James Brown under the style of Charles C. Little and Company. Little and Brown had previously been clerks, and were later partners, in a bookstore in Boston founded in 1784 by Ebenezer Battelle. The name of Little and Brown's firm was subsequently changed, due to the admission of other partners, to Little, Brown, and Co.