Sunday, October 7, 2012

An old bookseller label from Bozeman, Montana

I keep coming across the tiniest ephemeral evidence of bookstores that no longer exist.

In this case, sadly, it's from a bookstore that was alive and kicking for 115 years before its "fade to black" moment this summer.

Today's bookseller label is for Phillips Book Store in Bozeman, Montana. It is affixed to the inside back cover of the 1939 hardcover edition of "The Incredible Era, The Life and Times of Warren Gamaliel Harding."1 The name "Dr. W.S. Bole" is inscribed on the inside front cover.2

One old reference I found for Phillips appears in the May 1933 issue of "The Frontier: A Magazine of the Northwest":
"In its 'News from the States' a recent Saturday Review of Literature characterizes S.G. Phillips Book Store as an outpost of the book trade in Bozeman, Montana, and cites its sale of over seventy copies of CHARLES M. RUSSELL's Good Medicine, edited by Mrs. Russell, with foreword by Will James (Doubleday, Doran & Co.). The Bozeman correspondent of the Review, Polly Robertson, identifies ROGER SCARLETT (Murder Among the Angels) as Dorothy Blair, daughter of a Bozeman pioneer. Miss Blair admits to only half that identity, since EVELYN PAGE of Philadelphia is co-author with her of the mystery novels appearing under that signature. Both were formerly on the editorial staff of Houghton Mifflin & Co. MISS EDNA COBBAN, of Phillips Book Store, reports continued sale of Linderman's Red Mother, Lomax's Cowboy Ballads — which she commends — and other westerns."
When the end finally came for Phillips in July, of Billings, Montana, put things into historical perspective:
"Thomas Edison patented his movie camera, the first shipment of gold from the Yukon arrived in Seattle and Sherman Phillips opened a store to sell typewriters in downtown Bozeman [115 years ago]. ...

The business agreement that created Phillips Books to sell Blickensderfer typewriters was signed 10 days before Bram Stoker published his novel, "Dracula." William McKinley had been sworn in as our 25th president just two months prior. Now, this business is going the way of the Blickensderfer typewriter. ...

"A little disappointing, you know, a 115-year-old business. We're probably one of the four oldest that I'm aware of in town. So, you know you hate to see that go, but businesses come and go, times change, and we have to be willing to make the change. Before I wasn't ready to do it, I'm ready to do it now," [owner Rick Radovich] said. ...

Phillips outlived its typewriter company origins almost five times over. Blickensderfer only lasted 25 years, 90 less than Phillips Books."
Radovich had been in the business for a long time. According to The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, he took over the store from his father-in-law, Harold Arnold, who started working for the store’s original owner, Sherman G. Phillips, in 1937. Radovich ran the operation for 31 years.

1. Raise your hand if you knew President Harding's middle name was Gamaliel.
2. I found a short Associated Press obituary for Bole from November 1954. It states:
"Bozeman, Mont. (AP) -- Dr. W. S. Bole, 72, of Bozeman, substantial owner of interests in the Great Falls Tribune and allied companies, died here Monday of a heart attack.

Bole had been an invalid for several years but had entered a hospital only recently. Bole's father was an editor and co-owner of the Tribune and also formerly owned the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Services were held Tuesday in Great Falls. His widow and two daughters survive."

1 comment:

  1. I would be proud to have a Blickensderfer on my desk!
    Once again, I love all of the places that a tag and some research will take you :)