I have been thinking about the world this receipt represents, or the world that I think this receipt represents. I found the receipt in an Anchor Doubleday paperback reprint of Mark Van Doren’s Shakespeare, a book first published in 1939. The paperback price is ninety-five cents. I think it’s reasonable to assume that the receipt goes with the book, which belonged to Jim Doyle and bears his name. Van Doren’s book is one of at least a dozen that I have from Jim, who was my professor for three classes at Fordham College in the late 1970s.
Jordan Marsh was a celebrated Boston department store that grew into a New England chain. Its Malden store opened in 1954. Jim Doyle grew up in Cambridge, a few miles from Malden, and attended Malden Catholic High School. In 1965, Jim would have been a student at Providence College in Rhode Island. His twenty-first birthday was on April 9, 1965. Was he home for the occasion and spending some birthday money? I would like to think so, but it’s just as likely that he bought the book used, perhaps years later, with the original receipt still tucked between pages.
Here’s what boggles my mind (assuming again that the receipt goes with the book): in 1965, a suburban department store’s book department carried at least one work of Shakespearean criticism.
Other Jim Doyle posts
Doyle and French
From the Doyle edition
Jim Doyle (1944–2005)
A Jim Doyle story
Teaching, sitting, standing
[The Department Store Museum is an excellent source for background on Jordan Marsh. That’s where I found the 1954 date. My guess that Jim was home from college for a long Easter break (Providence cancels classes for Easter Monday) fell through: in 1965, Easter fell on April 18. (There’s a website). Mark Van Doren’s Shakespeare is still available from New York Review Books.]
Friday, July 19, 2013
By Michael Leddy at 11:51 AM