After Indiana University’s main building burned down in April 1854 (including the library), IU received a donation of 800 books from Cincinnati publisher H.W. Derby to start a new library. This book was inscribed to Theophilus A. Wylie by Derby, one of three books I’ve been able to find that are inscribed this way. Indiana University’s library burned down no less than three times during T.A. Wylie’s long tenure at the university — an unfortunate streak. (So many burned books. Ugh.) The 1954 fire was particularly bad because it was the entire main university building that burned down, and the university was already smarting from losing a costly legal settlement with nearby Vincennes University.
It seems likely, in light of my recent research in reading The History of the Book in America, Vol. II, that Theophilus would be most familiar with Henry Derby due to the fact that Derby would not only have been a publisher but also a distributor to the Western states. As a bookseller, he would take orders from inland customers and relay them to his suppliers in big cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and they would fill the order either out of their own stock or by ordering the requested books from even further afield. Once there were book fairs and cooperation among the networks of booksellers, this was how it would have been possible to have books sent to Bloomington despite there being minimal roads or train connections. (It was, apparently, the proliferation of train connections that ultimately did in the Cincinnati publishing industry, which had a period of roughly 30 years before the Civil War when it flourished and had a real reputation as a “literary emporium.”