Fowler & Wells

City: New York

State: New York

The firm of Fowler & Wells was formed about 1855 when Orson S. Fowler withdrew from the existing firm of Fowlers & Wells. The new firm consisted of the remaining partners, Fowler’s brother, Lorenzo N. Fowler, and the pair’s brother-in-law, Samuel R. Wells, and was located at 308 Broadway in New York City. Fowler & Wells and its predecessor were phrenological firms that published works on phrenology and topics such as vegetarianism and temperance in addition to the firm members being practitioners of and lecturers on phrenology. Wells oversaw the publishing portion of the business, and under his influence the firm boasted that they produced the largest mail-order book list in New York and that they sold to a large portion of the United States as well as to Canada. Wells compiled some self-improvement works published by the firm himself, and Fowler & Wells also expanded their range of publications to include works on social reform, health, sex education, and psychology, as well as feminist works. By 1862, Wells was the sole remaining member of the firm in residence in New York, where the business became known as S. R. Wells, with Lorenzo Fowler establishing his own branch of the business in London about this time.

Madeleine B. Stern, “Fowler, Lorenzo Niles,” American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 8:328-29; Madeleine B. Stern, “Fowler, Orson Squire,” American National Biography, 8:329-30; Madeleine B. Stern, “Wells, Samuel Roberts,” American National Biography, 23:29-31; New-York Daily Times, 1 January 1855, 8:1; New-York Daily Tribune, 24 December 1855, 7:1.