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ONE of the first owners of this lot was Jonathan Davis, who bought it of Peter C. Brooks, November 10, 1802, for $6699,.53. Next came Samuel Ridgway Miller, who lived there from 1821 to 1840. His only daughter, Mary Jane, became the wife of the Honorable Josiah Quincy, the younger, who made his home there for many years. The property remains in the possession of the Quincy family. Mr. Miller was an original subscriber to the stock of the Suffolk National Bank in 1818. He was reckoned among “the most influential Boston men of the day,” and was engaged in the importation of British dry goods, as a member of the firm of Gore, Miller & Parker.
Since the year 1880 the firm of Houghton Mifflin Company, incorporated in 1908, has occupied as tenant three stories of this building. Here are the headquarters of the main branches of its business, including the Publishing, Educational, Advertising, Editorial, and Subscription Departments. The Printing Department remains, as for many years, at The Riverside Press in Cambridge.
For many years the “Atlantic Monthly,” most prominent among the literary periodicals of America, maintained its offices here. “Even within the substantial walls of Number Four, “ wrote Professor Bliss Perry, one of the “Atlantic’s” former editors, in “Park Street Papers,” “built as it was for a family mansion, and long identified with a widely honored name, the magazine used to flit upstairs and down, like a restless guest. Mr. Howells’s tiny sanctum was on the second floor, and many a delighted caller remembers that third-floor back room, looking out upon the Burying-Ground, where Mr. Aldrich was wont to mitigate the severity of his position with an Irish setter and a pipe. The `Atlantic’ loves the memory of the gentlemen and scholars, and men of letters, who once frequented Park Street. It was more happily housed in the ancient Quincy mansion than in any tall office building of Gath or Askalon.”1
1 John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel. 1681.Click the book image to turn to the next Chapter.