Skip to main content

Holliday Bookshop collection

 Collection
Identifier: MRBC-MS-00009

Scope and Contents

The archive of the Holliday Bookshop contains book catalogues, correspondence, writings, publicity, and photographs, dating from 1921 to 1979. The archive was donated to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 1994 by John Detmold, in memory of his aunt, Elsa Detmold Holliday, class of 1911. The collection is divided up into five series, in 52 folders.

Dates

  • 1921-1979

Creator

Language of Materials

English.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Biographical / Historical

Terence Holliday, an avid reader, worked at Brentano's in 1919, in order to learn "something about the book business." In 1920, Terence and his wife Elsa (Smith class of 1911) opened their bookshop on 10 West 47th Street in New York City. The bookshop began to slowly grow, despite the Holliday's choice to ignore the advice of Frank Crowningshield of Vanity Fair, to "have a couple of attractive young ladies serve tea in the shop every afternoon." Initially, the bookshop specialized in importing English books, as well as offering unusual and rare books, especially first editions of contemporary authors and private press books. Later, the Hollidays promoted the works of younger British and American poets and novelists, such as W. H. Auden, Thornton Wilder, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, William Faulkner, and T. S. Eliot.

In 1925, the bookshop moved to 49 West 49th Street. This location was a propitious one, since there were specialty bookshops in the area. Rather than competing for customers, the bookshops cooperated, making referrals and placing orders for each other. Unfortunately, some of the larger publishers in competition with the Holliday were not nearly as gracious. The import of English editions was made difficult by the existing copyright laws, and the invention of "limited editions" from the larger houses also threatened business.

The Hollidays weathered the Depression, with Terence lecturing occasionally and writing articles to make ends meet. However, by 1950, the difficulties of running the bookshop began to wear on Terence, and the Hollidays began to look for a buyer for their shop. A run of bad luck ensued, including two destructive fires of suspicious origin.

In 1951, the Hollidays sold their bookstore to Robert T. Vanderbilt, and retired in Milford, Connecticut. Terence Holliday died in 1969 at the age of 84. Elsa Detmold Holliday died in 1991 at the age of 100. After 31 years of existence, the Holliday bookshop had become more than a bookshop; it had become an "Institution."

Extent

1 boxes (0.5 linear feet)

Overview

Husband and wife co-owners of a bookshop in New York City that initially specialized in importing English books, as well as offering unusual and rare books, especially first editions of contemporary authors and private press books. Contains book catalogues, correspondence, writings, publicity, and photographs.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into five series:
  1. I. Book Catalogues, 1921-1937
  2. II. Correspondence, 1921-1973
  3. III. Publicity, 1924-1979
  4. IV. Writings, 1929-1930
  5. V. Photographs

Arrangement

The collection is divided up into five series, in 52 folders.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive was donated to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 1994 by John Detmold, in memory of his aunt, Elsa Detmold Holliday, class of 1911.

General

The Holliday Bookshop Collection is the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Creator

Title
Holliday Bookshop collection
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Compiled by Lynne M. Fors
Date
2003
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2005-09-23: manoscmr9 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063