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
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
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
Since starting my research about early BC booksellers, I’ve been curious about why they were so often called stationers. True, most bookstores of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries sold stationery products in addition to books (as they do today). But it turns out that their proprietors’ common title of “stationer” had a lot more… Continue reading The Stationarii
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
This splendid full-page ad is from Robert Jamieson’s bookstore in Victoria, 1895. (Click to enlarge.)
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