Samuel Griswold Goodrich
Samuel Griswold Goodrich (August 19, 1793 – May 9, 1860) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 author, better known under the pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 Peter Parley.


Goodrich was born at Ridgefield, Connecticut
Ridgefield, Connecticut
Ridgefield is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. Situated in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, the 300-year-old community had a population of 24,638 at the 2010 census. The town center, which was formerly a borough, is defined by the U.S...

 as the son of a Congregational minister. Goodrich was largely self-educated, and became an assistant in a country store at Danbury, Connecticut
Danbury, Connecticut
Danbury is a city in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It had population at the 2010 census of 80,893. Danbury is the fourth largest city in Fairfield County and is the seventh largest city in Connecticut....

, which he left in 1808, and later again at Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is the capital of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960, it is the second most populous city on New England's largest river, the Connecticut River. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford's population was 124,775, making...

, until 1811. From 1816 to 1822 he was a bookseller and publisher in Hartford. He visited Europe from 1823 to 1824, and moved to Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 in 1826. In 1833 he bought 45 acres (182,108.7 m²) in nearby Roxbury
Roxbury, Massachusetts
Roxbury is a dissolved municipality and current neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was one of the first towns founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, and became a city in 1846 until annexed to Boston on January 5, 1868...

 and built a home in what is now Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Jamaica Plain is a historic neighborhood of in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded by Boston Puritans seeking farm land to the south, it was originally part of the city of Roxbury...

. There he continued in the publishing business, and from 1828 to 1842 published an illustrated annual, The Token
The Token and Atlantic Souvenir
The Token was an annual, illustrated gift book, containing stories, poems and other light and entertaining reading. In 1833, it became The Token and Atlantic Souvenir.-History:...

, to which he was a frequent contributor both in prose and verse. A selection from these contributions was published in 1841 under the title Sketches from a Students Window. The Token also contained some of the earliest work of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

, Nathaniel Parker Willis
Nathaniel Parker Willis
Nathaniel Parker Willis , also known as N. P. Willis, was an American author, poet and editor who worked with several notable American writers including Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He became the highest-paid magazine writer of his day. For a time, he was the employer of former...

, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline...

 and Lydia Maria Child. In 1841 he established Merry's Museum
Merry's Museum
Merry's Museum was an illustrated children's magazine established by Samuel Griswold Goodrich in Boston, Massachusetts in 1841. Louisa May Alcott served as editor for a year or so, and also contributed stories, as did Lucretia Peabody Hale, Caroline M. Hewins, Rebecca Sophia Clarke, Helen W....

, which he continued to edit till 1854.
Goodrich was associated with his brother Charles A. Goodrich
Charles A. Goodrich
Reverend Charles Augustus Goodrich was an American author and Congregational minister, who popularized the motto "a place for everything and everything in its place".-Life and works:...

 in writing books for the young. His series, beginning in 1827 under the name of Peter Parley, embraced geography, biography, history, science and miscellaneous tales. Of these he was the sole author of only a few, but in 1857 he wrote that he was the author and editor of about 170 volumes, and that about seven millions had been sold. An English writer, George Mogridge
George Mogridge (Old Humphrey)
George Mogridge was a prolific 19th century writer, poet and author of children's books and religious tracts. He is chiefly known by his pseudonym of 'Old Humphrey', under which name he published 46 works, but also used the pen-names 'Jeremy Jaunt', 'Ephraim Holding', 'Peter Parley' and 'Old...

, also used the name Peter Parley, raising objections from Goodrich, who had the prior claim.
In 1857 he published Recollections of a Lifetime, which contains a list both of the works of which he was the author or editor and of the spurious works published under his name. By his writings and publications he amassed a large fortune. He was active in Whig politics, and was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
Massachusetts House of Representatives
The Massachusetts House of Representatives is the lower house of the Massachusetts General Court, the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is composed of 160 members elected from single-member electoral districts across the Commonwealth. Representatives serve two-year terms...

 in 1836, and of the state Senate in 1837, his competitor in the last election being Alexander H. Everett, and in 1851-1853 he was consul at Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where he remained till 1855, taking advantage of his stay to have several of his works translated into French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

. At the end of his consulship, he was presented with a commemorative medal.

He returned to America and, in 1859, he published Illustrated History of the Animal Kingdom. He died in New York. The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College
Amherst College
Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Amherst is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 1,744 students in the fall of 2009...

 holds a collection of his papers.


  • Goodrich's land in Jamaica Plain was subdivided into residential streets, among them Peter Parley Road, Parley Avenue and Parley Vale.
  • There is a street called Peter Parley Row in Berlin, CT, presumably honoring the author's Connecticut birthplace.
  • James Joyce
    James Joyce
    James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

     mentions the name of Peter Parley in his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialised in the magazine The Egoist from 1914 to 1915, and published first in book format in 1916 by B. W. Huebsch, New York. The first English edition was published by the Egoist Press in February 1917...

    at the end of chapter I.
  • One room Schoolhouse in Ridgefield, CT, was named after Peter Parley.

Further reading

  • Samuel Griswold Goodrich. Recollections of a lifetime: or men and things I have seen. 1857. vol.1; vol.2

External links

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