Losses in the Antiquarian Book World This Week

It feels remiss not to take a moment to memorialize three longtime booksellers that have left us this week. For many, the passing of Fred Bass, 89, of New York City’s Strand Bookstore will seem like the end of an era. Fred’s father, Benjamin, founded the bookshop along New York’s fabled ‘Book Row’ (Fourth Avenue) in 1927, and Fred had been working there since the age of 13. He built it up into the book mecca that it is today. His daughter, Nancy Bass Wyden, who has been his partner for 30+ years, will now take the torch. (An extended profile of Fred appears in Nick Basbanes’ book, Patience and Fortitude.)

The Seattle Review of Books announced the death of Louis Collins, bookseller and co-founder of the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. Collins sold used and antiquarian books for half a century. Writes Paul Constant, “Collins cultivated a hugely impressive collection of titles that couldn’t be found anywhere else online, and he regularly shipped those books to loyal customers around the world.”  

And sad news from England, as well. Charlie Cox of Charles Cox Rare Books has died. In business since the 1970s, Cox was well-liked among his colleagues in the trade. Ed Maggs offered these further details: “There will be a gathering to celebrate the life of this most lovable of men at 48 Bedford Square, London, on May 27, the Sunday after the London book fair. His catalogue 73 was at press as he died, and his family and friends will be putting it in the mails after the dust settles.”  

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