Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Summer Day at the Bookstore

1985.  Frank Scioscia in the doorway of riverrun.  He's just off the train from work at Harper's in the city.  No doubt a summer evening bocce game is in the offing.
Before Frank Scioscia rented the riverrun space for books, it had been a union hall for Anaconda Copper employees.  This connection appealed to Frank.  He felt solidarity with workers. Symbolic alliances like this meant something to him.  So did symbolism that mistakenly implied alliance.
     A distressing instance of this occurred in 1955 when he moved his family to San Gabriel California.  The neighborhood elementary school was named after Calvin Coolidge.   Frank could scarcely bear to have his children attend.  He would have preferred Eugene Debs Elementary School.  Or Samuel Gompers Elementary School.  Even, if it had to be presidential, Harry Truman Elementary School.
  Frank couldn't stand cool, reserved, conservative Cal.  In fact, if he'd been forced to make that choice, he would have preferred the name Sacco and Vanzetti Elementary School over a name that, however minimally, implied his endorsement of our 30th president.
     A union hall suited Frank Scioscia just fine. He and his sons, John and Charles, lined the walls with bookshelves.  Frank filled them.  On a summer evening like this one, he was delighted to stop into his union hall/bookstore and look over the books.  

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