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.

The interior of T.N. Hibben & Co., Victoria (Royal BC Museum and Archives, G-02974).

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 can almost smell their leather bindings.

Stationery and blank books, some of which we can see at the front right, were important parts of the business, as were items like photographs, maps, typewriters and office equipment, toys, and sporting goods, like the racquets hanging on the left.

Although the Royal BC Museum and Archives dates this photo as ca. 1891, I believe it was taken before January 1890, because that is when founder Thomas Napier Hibben died, and the man on the front right looks an awful lot like Hibben in the portrait below, with his distinctive white beard either side of an exposed chin.

Thomas Napier Hibben, ca. 1860 (Royal BC Museum and Archives, F-02887).


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