Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Old Trading Post,
Lisbon, New Hampshire

Elaine Fine found this postcard in a library book. Paul Drake is busy on a case with Perry Mason, so Elaine asked me to investigate.

The Old Trading Post was the work of Janet and Paul Rothenburger. The earliest reference to the Post that I can find is in a 1945 issue of Publishers Weekly. An item about the bookstore appears in the April 15 and July 15, 1950 issues of Billboard, in the unsigned columns “Dealer Doings” and “Merchandising Ideas Increase Disk Sales.” So the Post sold both books and records:

In the 1950s, the bookstore ran small classifieds in the New York Times. From April 1, 1951:

In 1967, the American Book Trade Directory (New York: R.R. Bowker), lists Janet Rothenburger as the sole proprietor. The Social Security Death Index lists a Paul Rothenburger, 1900–1967, with Lisbon, New Hampshire as his last residence. The last reference to an active store that I’ve found is from 1968, a listing in Book Dealers in North America (London: Sheppard Press, 1968). No SSDI record for Janet Rothenburger.

The Old Trading Post closed in 1968. A 1970 New York Times article on rural bookstores explains in passing the Post’s passing, in an account of Donald and Georgene Wattses’ Coventry Bookstore, which opened in Coventry, Connecticut, in 1968:

[Lewis Nichols, “Speaking of Books: Rural Byways to Bookshops.” New York Times, October 4, 1970.]

No sign of the Coventry Bookstore anywhere. That’s a case for Paul Drake.

[Sources: Google Books, the New York Times archive, the Social Security Death Index.]

A related post
Invitation to a dance (An old invitation, investigated)

comments: 3

Elaine said...

Well....that is a heart-breaker.
I don't have any more to say, but I hate just to leave one line.

Clive said...

Great article in Nov. 1968 issue of the Yankee magazine titled "How to Move a Mountain...of books" about the purchase of The Old Trading Post by Donald and Georgene Watt of Conventry Connecticut. Talks about 500,000 books.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the tip. I hope the article is online.