I’m excited to be giving a presentation about early BC booksellers and stationers at the September 11 meeting of the BC Genealogical Society. The program starts at 7:30 p.m.
I wrote last time about the rise of Manfred Gaskell’s bookselling mini-empire: as of mid-1914, he owned two Gaskell Book & Stationery stores in Vancouver and a branch in New Westminster, plus Thomson Stationery’s main operation in Vancouver and a branch in Victoria. At the height of his business boom, Gaskell’s business equity amounted to… Continue reading The End of Gaskell Book & Stationery and Thomson Stationery
In 1909, when Manfred Gaskell, Edward Odlum, and Albert Stabler bought Thomson Stationery Company, the firm was said to have the largest book stock in all of Canada (1). By 1914, Gaskell had bought out both of his partners. He also had three stores operating as the Gaskell Stationery Company: two in Vancouver, at 679-681… Continue reading Manfred Gaskell: Boom and Bust
When Thomson Bros. incorporated as Thomson Stationery Company in 1896, one reason may have been to raise capital for business expansion. Over the next few years, the company added space to “its already commodious quarters” in Nelson and moved to larger premises at 325 Hastings Street in Vancouver (while still hanging on to the Cordova Street… Continue reading Thomson Bros., Part 2
When Margaret MacLean, wife of first Vancouver mayor Malcolm MacLean, travelled on the CPR to join her husband on the west coast in the fall of 1886, with her on the train to Port Moody was Melville Patrick Thomson (1). Thomson was coming from Calgary, where he and his brother, James Arthur, ran a successful… Continue reading Thomson Bros.: Booksellers and Ambitious Entrepreneurs
When I grew up in Winnipeg, the night before Hallowe’en was customarily known as “gate night,” when bands of teenagers too old for trick-or-treating went around egging houses, streaming rolls of toilet paper through trees, putting all sorts of disgusting things in mail boxes, and in general behaving in ways that were sure to charm… Continue reading Gate Night Mischief at Hibben’s
I’ve previously published quite a lot about Seth Thorne Tilley, one of Vancouver’s first booksellers (if not the first; click here for the beginning of Tilley’s story). We know that Tilley operated a store in Vancouver prior to the Great Fire of June 1886, and that he rebuilt on Cordova Street following the fire. This… Continue reading William Harrison and the B.C. Book Store
On December 31, 1889, the Vancouver Daily World had this to say about book and stationery stores in New Westminster: “There are in the Royal City several handsome and well-appointed fancy-work and book stores, the chief being those of D. Lyall & Co., Z.S. Hall and Morey & Co.; whilst it is doubtful whether the Province… Continue reading Miss Peebles
Picking up from my last post about the fantastic photo of Vancouver’s Clarke & Stuart, here’s one that takes us inside a 19th-century bookstore: T.N. Hibben & Co. of Victoria. Here we can see all the wonderful books lining the walls (floor to ceiling, at least on the right) and displayed down the middle. I feel like I… Continue reading Going Inside T.N. Hibben & Co.
In 1894, when Vancouver’s first bookseller, Seth Thorne Tilley, exited the bookselling business, he handed the baton to Harold Clarke and James Duff-Stuart. The two were former clerks with Thomson Bros., one of Tilley’s main rivals in Vancouver. After purchasing the business, they renamed it Clarke & Stuart. Initially they remained in Tilley’s location at… Continue reading Clarke & Stuart: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words