Monday, August 24, 2009

George W. Childs and His Cigars

What do George W. Childs the Philadelphia publisher and George W. Peck the author and former governor of Wisconsin have in common? They both had their own brand of cigars.

Today I thought I would briefly discuss the life of George Childs and show an interesting bit of Childs' ephemera.

Here is a picture of the Philadelphia Ledger Building

George Childs (1829-1894) started his work career at the age of 14 in a local Philadelphia book store. This followed a fifteen month stint in the U.S. Navy. In 1852 he joined with Robert Evans Peterson and the name of the company became R.E. Peterson and Company. The name was changed to Childs and Peterson in 1854 succeeding the house of R.E. Peterson and Company. By 1862 the firm was known as George W. Childs. Perhaps the most well known book of the former firm was Arctic Explorations by Dr. Kane

In 1863 Childs purchased the American Literary Gazette and Publishers Circular

In about 1864 Peterson retired and at that time with a partner Childs bought the Philadelphia Public Ledger which was a local city newspaper. As time went on the Ledger became a very popular and influential newspaper. In fact Childs' yearly income from the Ledger was between $400,000 to $500.000 per year.

He was known as a charitable man. He gave generously to numerous local organizations.

In 1894 he succumbed after an episode of vertigo was followed by right sided paralysis. I suspect that most likely he suffered a brain stem stroke (Free neurological opinion).

Here is a picture of the cigar box. Childs' picture shows him at his desk at the Philadelphia Ledger.