Bartlett, in fact, began answering so many questions that he began compiling a book - an early sort of "Frequently Asked Questions." In 1855, he privately published the first edition of his Familiar Quotations, a dictionary of quotes from the Bible to Shakespeare, and from politicians to British poets. After the Civil War, for which he served in an administrative role with the Navy, he joined the publishing company of Little, Brown, and Company, which soon issued a fourth edition. In fact, by the end of his life he had overseen nine editions of his book of quotations, as well as a major book on words used or coined by Shakespeare.
Some of the quotes in Bartlett's collection include:
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teaching.
from "Thanatopsis" by William Cullen Bryant
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
from "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the few, the immortal names,
That were not born to die.
from "Marco Bozzaris" by Fitz-Greene Halleck
The Almighty Dollar.
from "The Creole Village" by Washington Irving
Earth's noblest thing, a woman perfected.
from "Irene" by James Russell Lowell
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
from "Home Sweet Home" by John Howard Payne