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All praise to R. Dunaway, Bookseller...

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Old July 25th 06, 11:55 AM posted to rec.collecting.books
Jerry Morris
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Posts: 13
Default All praise to R. Dunaway, Bookseller...

Dear Annibale et al,

Here's a link to Goldwater discussing the NYC bookshops of the thirties
and forties. It's from Ralph Dumain's Autododact Project, and is on my
Moi Recommends list. I grew up in New Yorker myself, but didn't start
collecting books until I was stationed in England in the late 80s.
Reading anecdotes from booksellers and book collectors down through the
ages is still one of my favorite pastimes:


Jerry Morris

Annibale wrote and I snipped:

Dear AL:
Actually nearly all of the shops on 4th avenue and nearby were
generalists' shops except for Goldwater. His wife, who was a cook book
specialist also had several shelves filled with books outside of her
field where I often found bargains. Several of the shops you mentioned
are specialist's stores and only people interested in that specialty
would find things there. Dunaway's is a general shop like the better
shops on 4th avenue were. Actually one of the worst shops on 4th avenue
was the greatest for sleepers. It was next door to Biblo and Tannen. The
current owners were descendants of whoever stocked the shop. They never
bought a book. But if you climbed up to the top of the stacks, and/or
looked at the books behind books you could find wonders and all priced
maybe 20 years ago. I mined that art book section in the nineteen 50s
and early 60s. That sort of shop has a limited run and it has long been
gone. The other thing 4th avenue had going for it was that the shops
were right next to each other, cheek by jowl. They weren't near by. You
could walk from one shop to another barely touching the pavement
I don't go to New York street shops that often because what I am looking
for now wouldn't be there. So I will grant that I have to be a bit out
of touch. I remember looking into some shops East of 4th avenue on 8th
and possibly 9th streets but they did not have my kind of stock.
**They do exist, though. But the shops in Georgetown were all honest
to goodness used, op and rare generalists stores, and those are the ones
which make any book district start hopping.
**I have done some shopping in Kanda [in Tokyo] and in the shops in
front of the main gate of Tokyo University[daigaku]. I think there is
nothing in the Western world which even approaches the marvels of Kanda,
that is if you want Japanese books. But there are several shops which
specialize in Western language books, and taken as a group may actually
have as many good books for sale in English as any single American town.
I doubt whether there are any bargains, but I can remember when my wife
had searched all over the world for The best Malay English dictionary
[published in London and OP for some 30 years] with no success. In
Tokyo, on our way to Malaysia, [in 1975] we walked into a dictionary
shop and they had a copy. Considering all things, it was a great
bargain, and she has used it ever since.

Moi's Books About Books: http://www.tinyurl.com/hib7
Moi's LIbrary http://www.moislibrary.com My Sentimental Library
http://www.picturetrail.com/mylibrary Florida Bibliophile Society


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