Item #7448 H. Gregory, Successor to Gregory & White Bookseller & Stationer. Fine Steel & Copper Plate Engraving. Circulating Library.

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H. Gregory, Successor to Gregory & White Bookseller & Stationer. Fine Steel & Copper Plate Engraving. Circulating Library.

[Providence, Rhode Island, ca. 1880s.]. Cabinet card photograph, 4” x 5.5”, plus mount. CONDITION: Very good, strong tonality, small ding to upper-left corner of mount.

An appealing cabinet card photograph of a Providence bookshop that also operated a circulating library and offered a range of products and services including engraving, job-printing, stationery, pens, and more.

This image shows the front of bookseller Harry Gregory’s shop, with two men standing in the doorway, possibly Mr. Gregory himself and perhaps an assistant. A stocked bookshelf appears in the doorway and a broadside can be seen in the window advertising an illustrated edition of Shakespeare’s complete works at the reduced price of $1.65. Adjacent to the bookstore is a music shop with instruments displayed in the window.

Harry Gregory entered the book-business in Providence around 1866 and established himself as a leading bookseller in the state. In partnership for a time with Col. Hunter C. White under the firm name Gregory & White, Gregory operated on his own from 1882 on, following White’s withdrawal from the business. In 1881, the bookstore’s subscription library consisted of some 3,500 books. The shop was one of twenty bookstores in Providence at the time. A detailed account of it appears in King's Pocket-Book of Providence, R.I.:

a good assortment of rare, valuable, and modern books including law, medicine, mechanics, theology, education, and romance. Reference-books, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases, are here to be seen in many editions of various prominent publishers. In the stock, it is intended to keep every thing in book-form, from the Franklin-Sq. Library to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and to keep it all in a manner which offers ready access for examination by patrons. The stock is chiefly new books, but a specialty is also made of buying and selling second-hand books of every kind. A large business is done in supplying Sunday-school libraries with complete outfits; this being the Rhode Island Episcopal Book Depository. This is also the agency of the Providence Lithograph Co., whose designs are used for Sunday-school work in the International Lessons. The stationery department supplies such goods as are usually found in stationery-stores, including albums, pocket-books, gold, steel, and stylographic pens, etc. Cards and stationery are engraved or printed for weddings, balls, parties, visiting, and other purposes.

A scarce photographic document of a noted Providence bookshop.

REFERENCES: King, Moses. King's Pocket-book of Providence, R.I. (Cambridge, Mass.: Tibbitts, Shaw & Co., 1882); The Library Journal, Vol. 12 (1887), p. 56; Report of the Commissioner of Education (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1888), p. 972.

Item #7448


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