Wilson, Halsey William
- Marie C. Ellis
Wilson, Halsey William (12 May 1868–01 March 1954), bibliographer and publisher, was born in Wilmington, Vermont, the son of John Thompson Wilson, a stonecutter, and Althea Dunnell. An only child, Wilson lost both his parents to tuberculosis before he was three, and he spent his early childhood with his mother’s parents, first in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, and later near Colrain. When Wilson was twelve, he went to live with an uncle on a farm near Waterloo, Iowa. After attending the preparatory academy associated with Beloit College, in Wisconsin, from 1883 to 1885, Wilson moved to Minneapolis, studying at the University of Minnesota intermittently from 1885 to 1892. Hardworking and energetic, he financed his educational pursuits in a variety of ways, including running a small printing operation from his room. In December 1889 he and his roommate formed a partnership to sell books to fellow students, a venture that proved to be so successful and time-consuming that Wilson discontinued his college studies to concentrate on managing and expanding the enterprise. He later purchased his partner’s share of the bookshop with money inherited from his grandfather....