Publishers of Philadelphia

The firm of Carey, Lea & Blanchard (referred to here, for convenience, as Carey & Lea), the successor to the promient publishing house of Matthew Carey & Co., was formed in 1833 with the appointment of William Blanchard as partner. The firm was already well established, and under the helm of its founder, Matthew Carey, had made publishing history since its founding in 1785. Matthew Carey began as publisher of the Pennsylvania Evening Herald that year, but soon left the newspaper to found his publishing enterprise. His young son Henry, (who later added a middle name, Charles, in memory of a brother who died as an infant), born 1792, was working in the business very early. By age twelve, Henry was managing his father's branch store at 229 Market Street, and by fifteen he was managing the finances of the firm. In 1817 he was elevated to junior partner and the company's name was changed to Carey & Son. In 1822, after marrying Matthew Carey's daughter, Frances Anne, Isaac Lea, was brought in as junior partner. He was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and, despite his work at the company, would continue pursuing his scientific studies in geology. The firm was now called Matthew Carey & Sons. Matthew Carey retired, his share bought out by Henry, in 1824. However, his influence would remain strong until his death in 1839. Likewise, the company would continue paying him a handsome salary, and some of his incidental expenses.

Henry's younger brother, Edward Carey, who had been working in publishing in England since 1822, joined the firm in 1827. He left in 1829, but during his brief stay the company was known as Carey, Lea & Carey. He joined in a publishing partnership with Abraham Hart. With his departure, Carey & Lea was formed.

In 1833, William A. Blanchard was named partner, and the firm was renamed Carey, Lea & Blanchard. William Blanchard had joined the firm in 1812. One account says that "no partner could have been more silent than Blanchard. A faithful and unobtrusive employee before, he remained equally obscure as a partner, and presumably took no creative part in publishing policy." (3) However, Blanchard seems to have had a strong influence on the day-to-day operations of the firm, because the other principals took more time, once Blanchard was minding the home office, to work on their own writing efforts.

Henry Carey decided to retire from book publishing in 1838. With his departure, the firm was renamed to Lea & Blanchard. Carey's outside interests included political economy, and he had begun the three-year processing of publishing his three-volume Principles of Political Economy in 1837. He went on to write Past, Present and Future in 1848, Principles of Social Science, published between 1858 and 1860, and The Unity of Law in 1872. The Principles of Social Science was widely translated and reprinted. Politically, Henry Carey was aligned with his father, a staunch nationalist and economic protectionist in the 1840's. He helped organize the Republican Party in 1856, and died in 1879.

Isaac Lea, too, had a rich life outside the company, and after his retirement from Lea & Blanchard in 1851, he devoted himself to his beloved geology and passed his interest in the publishing firm to his son, Henry Charles Lea. Isaac Lea continued publishing geological studies into the 1880's, dying in 1886.(4)