EMERSON, RALPH WALDO (1803-1882, essayist and poet)
Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch was the son of the celebrated architect Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844) and brother of Thomas Bulfinch, author of The Age of Fable and The Age of Chivalry. Another brother, Henry, was Emerson's friend and classmate at Harvard. Stephen attended divinity school at Cambridge and in 1830 became a Unitarian clergyman in Augusta, Georgia, where he remained for seven years, publishing Contemplations of the Saviour, 1832, and Poems, 1834.
Among the others mentioned in the letter are some of the most influential Unitarian and Congregational ministers of the time, including Dr [William Ellery] Channing, to whom Emerson acknowledged considerable indebtedness, as did Longfellow, Lowell and Holmes, [Ezra] Gannett, [James] Walker, [Chester] Dewey and [John Gorham] Palfrey.
At the time of writing this letter Emerson had just the year before become a minister of the Second Church in Boston, as a colleague of Rev. Henry Ware, before giving up the ministry in 1832 shortly after the death of his first wife.
Apart from family correspondence, very few of Emerson's letters from so early a period of his life have survived. The present letter relates to a hitherto unknown project for a book. Emerson's own first book, Nature, was published in 1836.