William E. Norman

Another prolific early nineteenth century Hudson publisher, whose operations began about thirteen years after Stoddard’s publishing house was established, was William E. Norman, at 2 Warren Street (on a block since sacrificed to “urban renewal”). Of the 115 titles shown on the WorldCat website, those for which photos and/or excerpts are currently available to this site include:

Beauties of the Bible: Being a Selection From the Old and New Testaments, With Various Remarks and Dissertations, Designed for the Use of Christians in General, and Particularly for the use of Schools and the Improvement of Youth (1806); by Ezra Sampson; published in Hudson by Harry Crosswell for William E. Norman.(1806).

Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, and Protector of the Rhenish Confederation, from his Birth to the Present Time; author not given, but Norman may have written the preface. Published in Hudson by William E. Norman (1810).

Letters to a Young Lady: On a variety of useful and interesting subjects; calculated to improve the heart, to form the manners and enlighten the understanding…Sixth American Edition. Two Volumes Complete in One.  By Rev. John Bennett, published and printed in Hudson by William E. Norman (1811).

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Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States, by George Washington. Published in Hudson by William E. Norman (1812).

Discourses on Several Subjects, in Two Volumes, containing various commentaries on sacraments, the Bible and other Church matters. By Samuel Seabury. Episcopalian. (1815).

McFingal: A Modern Epic Poem, In Four Cantos, with Explanatory Notes and Plates, by John Trumbull, Esq. (1816)

The Holy Bible Old and New Testaments. Published in Hudson by William E. Norman, 2 Warren Street (1817)

The English Reader, or Pieces in Prose and Poetry, Selected from the Best Writers, Designed to Assist Young Persons TO READ WITH PROPRIETY AND EFFECT; TO IMPROVE THEIR LANGUAGE AND SENTIMENTS; And to inculcate some of the most important PRINCIPLES OF PIETY & VIRTUE. WITH A FEW PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.  By Lindley Murray, Author of an English Grammar, &c., &c.  HUDSON: by Samuel Seabury; Published by William E. Norman (1818).

from The English Reader, or Pieces in Prose and Poetry (compiled by Lindley Murray, 1818):

Editorial Note: It is clear that the “Young Persons” addressed by the compiler throughout this volume, are presumed without question to be exclusively male. On the first page of Part I: Pieces in Prose, Chapter 1: Select Sentences and Paragraphs, Section I: Page A, the compiler states:

“Diligence, industry, and proper improvement of time, are material duties of the young.  The acquisition of knowledge is one of the most honorable occupations of youth.  Virtuous youth gradually brings forward accomplished and flourishing manhood.”  Exercises relating to diction, volume, etc., follow for those reading aloud.  There are no essays included advising girls or women, as they comprise no part of the compiler’s audience. That having been said, some of the selections Murray deems appropriate for recitation by young men in 1818 are interesting reflections of the time in which this volume was compiled.

Also of interest, on page 253, “Chapter III: Didactic Pieces; Section IX: Indignant sentiments on national prejudices and hatred: and on Slavery,” abolitionist sentiments dating from twenty-four years earlier and written by an Englishman appear, as follows:

William Cowper
From The Task, Book II (1784)

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more! My ear is pained,
My soul is sick with every day’s report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled.
There is no flesh in man’s obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man. The natural bond
Of brotherhood is severed as the flax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not coloured like his own, and having power
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And worse than all, and most to be deplored,
As human nature’s broadest, foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that mercy, with a bleeding heart,
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earned.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart’s
Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
We have no slaves at home – then why abroad?
And they themselves, once ferried o’er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free,
They touch our country and their shackles fall.
That’s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all your empire; that where Britain’s power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

The Militiaman’s Pocket Companion, By Joseph Lord, Brigade Major and Inspector, Columbia County, New York.  Published by William E. Norman, Hudson (1822).


Constitution of the State of New-York, Adopted in Convention, November 10th, 1821: The Constitution of the United States, with Amendments, and General Washington’s Farewell Address, Hudson. Published by William E. Norman, William B. Stebbins, Printer. (1822)

Biographical Sketch of the Life of Andrew Jackson, Major General of the Armies of the United States, Hero of New Orleans. By Robert Walsh; Published in Hudson by William E. Norman (1828).

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