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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Jesper Harding

HARDING, Jesper, publisher, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 5 November, 1799; died there, 21 August, 1865. After acquiring a knowledge of printing under Enos Bronson, the publisher, he engaged in the business on his own account at the age of eighteen. In 1829 he purchased the "Pennsylvania Inquirer," which had been established a few months before, and at about the same time he began to print Bibles, of which he subsequently became the largest publisher in the United States. The first Bible published by him--a quarto, bound in sheep--was sold fox" one dollar. As the first editor of the "Inquirer," 31r. Harding, during the contest between President Jackson and the directors of the Bank of the United States, attempted the difficult task of defending the latter while supporting the former; but, when the government deposits were removed from the bank, he supported the anti-Jackson faction of the party, and in 1836 advocated the election of Harrison. Finally, however, the "Inquirer" espoused the cause of the Whig party, to the fortunes of which Mr. Harding adhered until the overthrow of the party in 1852. Mr. Harding was also largely engaged in the manufacture of paper at Trenton. N. J. In 1859 he retired from the publishing business, and was succeeded in it by his son, William W. At the time of his death he held the office of collector of internal revenue, under appointment by President Lincoln.--His son, George, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 26 October, 1827, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1846, read law with Hon. John Cadwalader, and was admitted to the bar in 1849. He has since continued in active practice, devoting himself to patent eases. When arguing the telegraph case of Samuel lie. B. Morse against O'Reilly in the United States supreme court, he operated in the court-room miniature lines of telegraph representing the entire system then existing between New York and Washington. In the "hat-body" case he operated machinery so as to make a complete hat in the court-room. He was associated with Abraham Lincoln and Edwin M. Stanton in the McCormick reaper ease, and introduced a miniature grain-field to illustrate the process of reaping by machinery. His most successful effort was in the Tilghman glycerine ease, when his argument induced the supreme court to reverse its first decision on the same patent. Since 1854 Mr. Harding has been a member of the American philosophical society.--Another son, William White, publisher, born in Philadelphia, 1 November, 1830, after careful preliminary training, became associated with his father in 18,55 in the publishing of the "Inquirer" and of Harding's edition of the Bible. Over two million copies of the Bible have been published by the Hardings. In April, 1860, William W. Harding changed the name of the newspaper to the "Philadelphia Inquirer," and its size from a folio to a quarto sheet. During the civil war he rendered important services to the government, in acknowledgment of which See. Stanton wrote to Mr. Harding: "From no one have I received in my official labors more disinterested and highly prized support than from yourself." From 1863 till 1878 Mr. Harding manufactured paper at the Inquirer paper-mills, Manayunk, near Philadelphia, where he introduced many new systems and inventions. At the Centennial in 1876 he was awarded a medal for paper-making, binding, and printing, he being the only exhibitor at whose establishment the paper was made, printed, and bound into the completed book.

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