Books for Sale · Victoria

At the Bookstore, 1887: Bestsellers for Sixty Cents

While researching John Bowerman Ferguson and the BC Stationery and Printing Company, I came across this ad, which illuminates (albeit fuzzily) what readers could find on the shelves of BC bookstores in 1887: For sixty cents per volume, readers could walk away with now-classic works by Charles Dickens, Johnathan Swift, Victor Hugo, and Sir Walter… Continue reading At the Bookstore, 1887: Bestsellers for Sixty Cents

New Westminster · Vancouver · Victoria

British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company

Now that I’ve introduced John Bowerman Ferguson, Thomas Robson Pearson, and David Robson, three of the founding partners in the British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company (J.A. Hart was the fourth), let’s continue the story about this firm. A Promising Start… Beginning in May 1886 with Pearson’s and Ferguson’s existing book and stationery stores in New… Continue reading British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company

Vancouver · Victoria

John Bowerman Ferguson: BC Bookseller with a Winnipeg Connection

I was in Winnipeg (my hometown) for a few weeks this summer, and that got me thinking about a BC bookseller with a Winnipeg connection: John Bowerman Ferguson. Part of the BC bookselling scene from 1885 to 1889 in Victoria and Vancouver, Ferguson was originally from Ontario. But before establishing himself in BC, he spent… Continue reading John Bowerman Ferguson: BC Bookseller with a Winnipeg Connection

Libraries · Victoria

Mary Stewart: “Knew More about Books than Anyone Else in Victoria”

In the 1890s, T.N. Hibben & Co. was the place to meet in Victoria. “On a Saturday afternoon, or in the evenings, when the stores were open, you were sure to meet just about everyone you knew waiting for somebody else in Hibben’s store, poking among the books and passing the time of day with other people who… Continue reading Mary Stewart: “Knew More about Books than Anyone Else in Victoria”

Books for Sale · Victoria

At the Bookstore, 1888: Zola’s La Terre

One of the books for sale at BC bookstores in 1888 caused a great deal of hand-wringing and finger-wagging among members of the book trade—and, no doubt, a large number of discrete purchases by curious and more adventurous readers. The book was Émile Zola’s The Soil, the English translation of his La Terre, first published in France… Continue reading At the Bookstore, 1888: Zola’s La Terre

Victoria

The Irrepressible James Carswell of Hibben & Carswell, Victoria

I just received this image of James Carswell, Thomas Hibben’s early bookselling partner in Victoria, from the Royal BC Museum and Archives. Newly digitized from a plate glass negative, it is the only one I have found so far of James. I felt a rush at finally seeing the face of someone from the distant… Continue reading The Irrepressible James Carswell of Hibben & Carswell, Victoria

Victoria

Thomas Napier Hibben Starts One of Victoria’s Longest-Running Bookstores

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

Victoria

W. F. Herre: Victoria Bookstore and…Gambling Den?

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?

Books for Sale · New Westminster · Victoria

At the Bookstore, 1861: Chambers’s Information for the People

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

Victoria

William Kierski: First Bookseller in Victoria

“The first bookstore in Victoria was Kierski’s,” wrote Glennis Zilm in her 1981 thesis about the history of trade book publishing in BC in the nineteenth century (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… Continue reading William Kierski: First Bookseller in Victoria