Thomas James Wise (1859-1937) was a renowned English book collector, bibliographer, editor, and, as it turned out, forger. Wise wrote many authoritative bibliographies of nineteenth century poets, including Browning, Tennyson, and Swinburne. Wise also worked as an agent to other book collectors helping to find works, especially noted first editions, to purchase for their collections. During the course of constructing his bibliographies, Wise would discover a previously unknown first edition of a popular poem or work. The poem would most often be in pamphlet form, published for private distribution by the author prior to the formal publication of the known first edition. While this private pre-publication was not an unheard-of practice for authors in the nineteenth century, especially for distribution to friends and family, it was suspicious that Wise discovered so many of them in such a short period of time.
In 1934, after an extensive investigation, John W. Carter and Henry Graham Pollard published their book, An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, claiming that dozens of these "discoveries" of Wise were in fact counterfeits. While the Enquiry did not accuse Wise of creating these forgeries, it did imply that he was ignorant of their origins and passed them off as originals. Wise died three years later, still denying that he was responsible. Further examination and tests support the theory that Wise created at least 100 forgeries of works by famous nineteenth century poets along with his partner, Harry Buxton Forman, and sold them for great sums of money.