Vancouver

Clarke & Stuart: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

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

Victoria

Victoria Bookseller James Carswell and the Mythical Connection with Toronto’s Carswell Legal Publishing

I was recently contacted by someone who is writing a biography of Robert Carswell, founder of the legal-publishing firm Carswell Company in Toronto in the mid-1860s. She wondered, just as I once did, if there was any connection between her subject and my Victoria bookseller James Carswell, a partner in Hibben & Carswell from 1858 to… Continue reading Victoria Bookseller James Carswell and the Mythical Connection with Toronto’s Carswell Legal Publishing

Blogiversary

One Year of A Most Agreeable Place

A Most Agreeable Place launched exactly one year ago today, so I’m just going to take a few minutes to mark the blogiversary. Interestingly, one of the only posts I wrote about a woman turned out to be the most popular: Mary Stewart, a clerk at T.N. Hibben & Co. around the turn of the 19th… Continue reading One Year of A Most Agreeable Place

New Westminster

Carrying and Passing the Bookstore Torch: Henry Morey, Part 3

After a few diversions to show how 19th-century bookstores took part in the festive holiday season, I’ll now pick up the story of Henry Morey in New Westminster. Following the fire that burned out his store on Columbia Street in 1891, Henry Morey steadily rebuilt his book and stationery business. In 1895, he expanded into… Continue reading Carrying and Passing the Bookstore Torch: Henry Morey, Part 3

Victoria

Christmas at the Nineteenth-Century Bookstore

In Book of Small, her memoir about her childhood in Victoria, Emily Carr recalls the red cardboard sign that Thomas Napier Hibben hung in his bookstore’s window each December, its “Merry Christmas” message written with cotton wool. In nineteenth-century Victoria (as now, judging by the lineup at my local bookstore the other day), Christmas shoppers flocked to… Continue reading Christmas at the Nineteenth-Century Bookstore

New Westminster

Destroyed by Fire: Henry Morey, Part 2

New Westminster’s Henry Morey was in his fifth year of business as a bookseller and stationer when disaster struck on February 15, 1891 (1). At 5 a.m., live coals in an ash box suddenly flamed up in the rear room of watchmakers and jewellers Stirsky & Son at 715 Columbia Street. A patrolling police constable soon… Continue reading Destroyed by Fire: Henry Morey, Part 2