New Westminster

George Clarkson of Clarkson & Co., New Westminster Bookseller

After Seth Tilley sold his Colonial Bookstore in New Westminster to Victoria’s Hibben & Carswell in 1863, they took on a local partner named George Cubitt Clarkson, who operated the store as Clarkson & Co. Born in Ontario Born in 1843 in Ontario (or Upper Canada, as it was then called), George was the eldest child… Continue reading George Clarkson of Clarkson & Co., New Westminster Bookseller

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”

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

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

Stationery and novelties

Valentines! Valentines!

Not unlike the bookstores of today, booksellers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries supplemented their book, magazine, and newspaper offerings with a wide assortment of stationery and “fancy goods,” such as leather products, toys, home decor items, novelties, giftware, and greeting cards. In the last category, Valentine’s Day presented a major opportunity to… Continue reading Valentines! Valentines!