gowan’s antiquarian bookstore

from edgar allan poe, herman melville posted in literature


gowan's antiquarian bookstore
97 nassau street
new york, new york 10038

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posted by tacopolis #

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This address if the former location of Gowan's Antiquarian Bookstore, a store dealing in "Historical Americana". The proprietor was William Gowan, and the shop would often be visited by writers living in the area. Edgar Allan Poe was known to shop here while he was living at a boarding house in the neighborhood.

Herman Melville probably exchanged greetings with Poe here; they were acquainted through a mutual editor. Melville once purchased a copy of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy here that his father had once owned.

He stated: "I bought this book more than four years ago at Gowen’s Store in New York. Today, Allan in looking at it, first detected the above pencil signature [A. Melvill] of my father’s; who, – as it now appears – must have had the book, with many others, sold at auction, at least twenty-five years ago. – Strange!"

Gowans, a Scotland-born American, might well be considered America's earliest complete bookman- he not only sold books to walk-in customers but issued at least one catalog a year between 1842 and 1870.

Nassau and Liberty St, New York City