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The House of Scribner

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Scribners Bookstore in 1989, Barnes and Noble lurks in the reflection. Ouch. Photo by Neil J. Murphy

Lit Nerd Wednesday!

Who knew that the Sephora  at the bottom of the gloriously old building on 497 Fifth Avenue had a lot in common with writing. Authors like Dawn Powell, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald walked through these doors to many a meeting, no doubt frustrated by the editors pencil — the building in its’ former life was home to Charles Scribner’s Son’s publishing. It was founded in 1846 and mainly focused on magazine publishing but really hit its’ stride in the late 19th and early 20th century — they also had their own bookstore on the bottom, a fairly new practice for the time and one rarely replicated today.

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The interior of the bookstore, 1913. Photo courtesy of the Melville House.

Under the guidance of Charles Scribner III the firm was forefront in publishing authors who symbolized the Lost Generation — Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. Later writers like John Clellon Holmes, Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King also had their works released through the publishing house.

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Scribner’s today, vintage sign and all. Photo by Sadira Conley.

In the late 1970s Scribner’s merged with Macmillan then Simon and Schuster and finally the CBS Corporation. The bookstore eventually closed and was replaced by Brentano’s, another bookstore — that too folded.

What: Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishing

Who: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dawn Powell, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Wolfe

Where: 597 Fifth Avenue

 

 

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One Response to “The House of Scribner”
  1. Evan – was beautiful store in a beautiful space.

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