Henry Oscar Houghton
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|Henry Oscar Houghton|
H.O. Houghton, 1846
|Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts|
January 1872 – January 1873
|Preceded by||Hamlin R. Harding|
|Succeeded by||Isaac Bradford|
April 30, 1823|
Sutton, Vermont, US
|Died||August 25, 1895(aged 72)|
|Alma mater||University of Vermont|
Houghton was born into a poor family in Sutton, Vermont. At age thirteen, he started working as an apprentice at The Burlington Free Press, where he became a typesetter. After graduation from the University of Vermont, he moved to Boston to work first as a reporter, then proofreader. He then joined a small Cambridge firm, Freeman & Bolles, that typeset and printed books for Little, Brown and Company. At age 25, he became a partner, and in 1849, the company was renamed Bolles and Houghton. After Bolles left, he took on full responsibility. In 1852, Houghton moved the business to beside the Charles River, renaming it the Riverside Press.
Before the Riverside Press, American books had generally been printed with poor ink on cheap paper. Houghton insisted on much higher quality; his motto was "Do it well or not at all". The result was very successful. He became the main printer for publishers Ticknor and Fields, and, in 1863, was engaged by G. & C. Merriam Company to print and bind their new dictionary.
In 1864, Houghton formed a partnership with Melancthon M. Hurd, a New York publisher. Hurd & Houghton was a quick success, and within three years, the company increased its workforce from 90 to 300 employees. George Harrison Mifflin (1845–1921) became a partner in 1872 and, when Houghton became mayor of Cambridge, Mifflin succeeded him as lead partner. In 1878, when Hurd retired, Houghton joined with James R. Osgood, formerly of Ticknor and Fields, to create Houghton, Osgood and Company. Lawson Valentine would become the third partner and provide $200,000 in fresh capital. The firm was plagued by personal debts from Osgood. The firm dissolved and in 1880 Houghton and Mifflin formed Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
Houghton died on August 25, 1895. He had one son and three daughters. In his 1891 will, he appointed daughter Elizabeth Harris Houghton "representative to nominate a patient for the free bed the testator established in the Cambridge hospital".
- "George H. Mifflin". Cambridge Tribune. April 9, 1921.
"Cambridge Tribune, Volume XLIV, Number 6, 9 April 1921". Cambridge Public Library (cambridge.dlconsulting.com). Retrieved 2016-09-20.
- "The Will of Henry O. Houghton". Cambridge Chronicle. September 14, 1895.
"Cambridge Chronicle, Volume L, Number 37, 14 September 1895". Cambridge Public Library (cambridge.dlconsulting.com). Retrieved 2016-02-03.
- Other sources
- Scudder, Horace E., Henry Oscar Houghton, A Biographical Outline, Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1897
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henry Oscar Houghton.|
- Henry Oscar Houghton at Library of Congress Authorities, with 1 catalog records
- George H. Mifflin at Library of Congress Authorities, with 1 catalog records
Hamlin R. Harding
|Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts
January 1872 – January 1873