When Thomas Napier Hibben opened his bookstore in Victoria in October 1858 (buying out William Kierski’s establishment on Yates Street), he likely could not have imagined that he was starting one of the longest-running bookstores in Victoria’s history. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1827, Hibben had already amassed several years’ experience as a bookseller in San Francisco… Continue reading Thomas Napier Hibben Starts One of Victoria’s Longest-Running Bookstores
Appearing in Victoria at almost the same time as William Kierski, W. F. Herre’s “book and paper stand” was located on Yates Street between Wharf and Government (1). A Jewish Frenchman who came to Victoria after first operating a book store in San Francisco (2), he announced his presence in Victoria on August 3, 1858: While… Continue reading W. F. Herre: Victoria Bookstore and…Gambling Den?
It is BC Book Day and International Women’s Day, and what better way to honour both than to highlight this milestone in BC’s bookselling history: the 1895 release of Lions’ Gate and Other Verses by Lily Alice Lefevre, the first book (I believe, though I stand to be corrected) written by a woman and published by… Continue reading Lily Alice Lefevre: First Female Book Author Published in British Columbia
Chambers’s Information for the People, one of the volume sets featured in an 1861 ad for Seth Tilley’s Colonial Book Store in New Westminster, offered everything “that is requisite for a generally well-informed man in the less highly educated portions of society”—or so claimed the book’s preface. “Designed in an especial manner for the People, though adapted… Continue reading At the Bookstore, 1861: Chambers’s Information for the People
“The first bookstore in Victoria was Kierski’s,” wrote Glennis Zilm in her 1958 thesis, “An Overview of Trade Book Publishing in British Columbia in the 1800s” (1). “Little is known about Kierski’s,” she added, and with that, Kierski’s story seems to have rested in silence ever since. And little wonder. Unearthing anything about Kierski has… Continue reading William Kierski: First Bookseller in Victoria
Judging by his ability to rebound after losing his Vancouver book and stationery store to fire not once, in June 1886, but twice, the second in February 1889, Seth Thorne Tilley must have been a man of spirit and some financial means. The losses he suffered in the fires were not adequately covered by insurance, yet… Continue reading The Final Years of the S.T. Tilley Book and Stationery Store in Vancouver
Following the devastating fire that destroyed his first Vancouver book and stationery store on Carrall Street in June 1886, Seth Thorne Tilley built a new store at 11 Cordova Street, at the corner of Carrall. A year later, when the first official train arrived at the Vancouver terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, he and… Continue reading “Phoenix-Like”: S.T. Tilley Reopens Vancouver Bookstore after Second Fire
Not unlike the bookstores of today, booksellers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries supplemented their book, magazine, and newspaper offerings with a wide assortment of stationery and “fancy goods,” such as leather products, toys, home decor items, novelties, giftware, and greeting cards. In the last category, Valentine’s Day presented a major opportunity to… Continue reading Valentines! Valentines!
By the time the above photo was taken in the spring of 1886, Seth Thorne Tilley’s book and stationery store was an important part of Vancouver’s “civic centre,” as Vancouver archivist Major Matthews titled his description of the photo: Here stood the famous “Maple Tree.” Under its shade or shelter, in sun or shower, pioneers held public meetings,… Continue reading Tilley’s First Vancouver Book and Stationery Store Goes Up in Flames
When Seth Thorne Tilley opened the Colonial Bookstore on Columbia Street in April 1860, New Westminster was little more than a rough clearing hacked out of the towering cedars and hemlocks, a scattering of wooden residential and commercial dwellings lining the Fraser River. Born a world away, in Gagetown, New Brunswick, in August 1836 to a… Continue reading The Colonial Bookstore: First in New Westminster