Bayswater's Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor Blog

Friday, August 3, 2018

In a Dusty NYC Bookshop

     This week, our most recent find on the used book floor takes us back to the 1920s and 1930s in a historic used book shop in New York City.  Ahh, the possibilities.

     Our discovery was made in a first-edition, signed copy of “Warren Harding: Our After-War President” that was published in 1924 and written by author and newspaper man, Joe Mitchell Chapple.  Chapple, born in 1867 and, at 57, roughly the same age as President Harding when he wrote the book, was married to a relation of the president: a woman by the name of Annie Harding Ryder.

     Tucked into the pages of the biography was a crookedly typed packing slip from May 17, 1939, noting the sale of the Harding book to a Mr. Eager in Concord, New Hampshire.  The book - a hardcover 386 pages in length - was purchased and shipped to Mr. Eager for a grand total of $2.00.  Where it was shipped from, however, is of even more interest.  

     Our almost 80 year old packing slip denoted that “Warren Harding: Our After-War President” came from the shelves of the Dauber and Pine Bookshop in New York City.  The owners/founders, Austrian and Russian immigrants Samuel Dauber and Nathan Pine, opened the shop in 1922 and became, arguably, the nation’s most famous used book store and, according to the New York Times, “literary world legends”.  Carrying a stock often ranging between 200,000 and 250,000 books, the Dauber and Pine Bookshop sought to offer quality out-of-print copies of books wanted by private collectors and institutions.  You would not have found a recent bestseller at this store on Fourth Avenue!

     Maybe you have seen this type of used bookstore in person or in the movies.  You know, the type where everywhere you looked, you saw piles of old books.  Some were stacked on tables, some on shelves, some on the floor, and still others in every corner you could see.  Dust was a common accompaniment to each stack and a customer coming to look for a book at Dauber and Pine Bookshop would need to be prepared to roll up their sleeves and get a little dirty.  In 1939, somewhere in this antiquated book haven, sat an autographed, first-edition of the Warren Harding book that we found today with their store’s documentation inside.  If only the book could talk and tell us of its journeys!

     Thinking of stopping by Dauber and Pine Bookshop during your next trip to NYC?  Sadly, you are too late.  The used bookstore/legend closed in 1983 when owner Nathan Pine was 90 years old and ready to retire.  In his obituary, less than a year later, the New York Times stated that there was “hardly an American writer of any note whom Pine has not known or who has not known him” as the paper lamented the end of an era.

     Ok, so we are not exactly Dauber and Pine Bookshop, but here at Bayswater, our used book floor contains a world of treasures all its own.  One such treasure, the 1924 copy of “Warren Harding: Our After War President” is available (with the historical find) for $25.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

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