Vancouver

Thomson Bros.: Booksellers and Ambitious Entrepreneurs

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

Victoria

Gate Night Mischief at Hibben’s

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

Vancouver

William Harrison and the B.C. Book Store

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

Victoria

Going Inside T.N. Hibben & Co.

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.

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