Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Receipt and more tucked away inside 1967 sci-fi paperback

I recently purchased a used copy of a science-fiction paperback titled Down to Earth, and it was filled with "tucked away inside" treasures. Preserved inside the book were a small sales receipt and an advertising bookmark, both of which I believe date to the original purchase at a store in Michigan 50 years ago.

The first page contains, in the lower-right corner, an embossed stamp indicating that the book was once part of the library of J.R. Newell.

And there's a nifty advertisement, on heavier paper, for Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy that has been bound within the pages.

The book was published in July 1967 with a cover price of 50 cents. That information was helpful as I worked through the book's likely provenance.

And so away we go. That brings us to the first piece of ephemera tucked away inside — the receipt.

It's just 1⅞ inches wide, and the scan is difficult to read, so here is what's printed there...

PHONE 425-7550
20 JUL -7 5857
000.50 $
000.02 $
000.52 $T

It seems clear to me that this book was purchased new in July 1967 — the same month in which it was published. The cost was the original cover price of 50 cents, plus 2 cents for Michigan sales tax, which was 4% at the time.1

Ross Music also provided a nice bookmark — measuring 2¾ inches by 6⅜ inches — to go along with this purchase five decades ago, and it apparently never left the book. (The binding is not creased and you could make a fair argument that this book has never been read.)

Ross Music Shop was located within the Concourse of the Westland Center. It sold records, sheet music, paperback books and musical accessories.

And where was Westland Center? (With its rather generic name.) Through some searching, it became clear that there was only one possibility for a 1960s location named Westland Center that had a store named Ross Music. It would be the Westland Center in Westland, Michigan, located a bit west of Detroit.2 It opened with major fanfare in July 1965, including a full-page advertisement in the July 25, 1965, edition of the Detroit Free Press. That advertisement stated, in part:
"Westland is a community of fine stores and services in a beautiful new setting. A shopping center where it's always summertime, for its stores are joined by covered, temperature-controlled courts, landscaped with tropical plants. And Westland is more than simply a place to shop. It's a beautiful center to come and visit with its imaginative landscaping ... its interesting sculpture ... its many fine service facilities."
Ross Music Store was listed as one of the many stores for the grand opening, alongside the likes of Albert's Artiste Beauty Salon, Better Made Potato Chips, Hamby's Barber Shop, Raimi's Curtains3 and Triangle Furniture.

I don't believe that Ross Music Shop is still an incorporated business. There were multiple locations back in the 1960s; in addition to this one at the Westland Center, there was a Ross Music Shop at the Eastland Center in Harper Woods, Michigan.

I doubt that many bookmarks like this one remain after five decades. The best hope would be finding ones that were tucked away inside other books and forgotten.

Posting on a DetroitYES! message board in 2010, in response to the question "Where did you buy your records when you were growing up?" one user wrote:
"Bought my first LP at Ross Music Shop, at Eastland. Shopped at Hudson's there, too, but that was because I liked a girl who worked there. Ross had more of the English Invasion groups that I liked, and the proprietor, Bob (?) was hip and full of stories about rock n roll."
While I can't find much else about Ross Music, you can read more about the Westland Center in the 2008 post "Memories of Westland Mall" at Quasi-Interesting Paraphernalia Inc. And several photos of Westland Center can be found at the Malls of America website, with great comments on many of the posts.4 Start with this post and work your way backward through the "Previous entries" section at the bottom.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, here's a peek at the interior advertisement pitching Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy for just 10 cents as an introductory offer to get readers into the Science Fiction Book Club (which I wrote about last August).

1. Source for Michigan sales tax history: "The history of MI's sales tax" by Esther Kwon on
2. Fun fact: Westland, Michigan, took its name from the mall when Nankin Township incorporated itself as a city in 1966. (Source: Westland Center's Wikipedia page.)
3. Raimi's Curtains might have been owned by Celia Raimi, the mother of movie director and Royal Oak, Michigan, native Sam Raimi.
4. My favorite comment, appropriately from Anonymous: "I got busted trying to take pennies out of a fountain that was located in one of the department stores that was below and to the right of that clock. Can't remember the stores name. Santa used to set up right below that staircase."


  1. Raimi's Curtains was funded and run by my grandfather, Jacob Raimi and his wife, my grandmother Sylvia. They were Sam Raimi's uncle and aunt. My father ran it after his parents more or less retired. It was founded in 1924 and was a fixture in Detroit for more than 60 years.

  2. ross music was at eastland and northland malls and closed both stores in the mid 80's as the owner was retiring...i worked at the eastland location and have very fond memories of the owner irving and melissa press downey the manager and my co-worker jimmy grindstaf

  3. I worked at Raimis Curtains on Fort St. in Detroit & Quit the hour that JFK was assassinated & the manager applauded his death. My good friend Darryl & I flew to DC that PM.
    I hope that fat foereverpig manager fries in Ghenna forever.