Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2013 Issue

A Bookseller in Transition

Tyson

Tyson Rare Books, banking the home fires. Credit: Raymond Beltran.

Tyson Rare Books of East Providence, these last forty-two years owned by Mariette P. Bedard, has closed their retail shop at 178 Taunton Avenue.  Tyson’s has been Rhode Island’s oldest bookshop but recently shifted their 20,000+ inventory to an off-street location in southeast Massachusetts where she expects to continue to sell via the Internet.  The decision was taken both for health reasons and because their rare book business has not recovered from the decline that set in in 2008.  “The timing seemed appropriate” Mrs. Bedard recently explained.

For more than 85 years the firm has bought libraries and brought most of the material into their shop to offer to a steady clientele that grew accustomed over the decades to finding the rare and unusual at appealing prices.

About her firm Mrs. Bedard is justly proud, “Tyson’s was a fixture in downtown Providence until 2002, when it moved to its present location in East Providence.”

Through the inventory remains similar if always changing.  A recent news release explained the shop’s focus.  “The firm offers a selection of culturally significant used and rare books, prints, ephemera, and maps with an emphasis on early New England Americana including Native American, American Revolution, Civil War, colonial and post-colonial history, literature, and nautical works.  The emphasis in what now becomes an Internet and mail order business will remain the same.

Looking ahead Mrs. Bedard sees an inevitable transition.  “Old books have been my life and those interested in this type of material my friends.”  But she explains it’s inevitable that she’ll sell the company and or categories of books to specialists.  I will hope to sell the firm.

A small portion of her inventory is on line at abebooks:

www.abebooks.com/home/tysonbks

Over the next year she hopes to add more.

In transition she’s not yet ready for visitors as much of her inventory is in boxes and inaccessible.  In time she’ll resolve this.  When such visits become possible special attention will be focused on her large inventory of 19th century pamphlets.  In recent years the market has become increasingly interested in such material and it is often in the inventories of old time sellers where appealing material is found.

The firm’s number is 401.431.2111 and her email address tysonbks@aol.com.

For the moment it’s the holidays.  With the coming of spring the books will be out and life will proceed apace.  

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions