W.F. Tenney, another Brattle St. book shop

Nicholas A. Basbanes, a regular contributor to Fine Books & Collections has a nice article this month about the Brattle Book Shop in Boston. The title of the article claims "oldest bookstore in America," and Basbanes traces its origins to 1825.

In my collection of ephemera, I have a book dealer's calendar from 1901. His name is W.F. Tenney and his calendar advertisement states "old books bought and sold." His shop was located at 26 Brattle Street. Could Tenney have been neighbors with the Brattle Book Shop? Were they the only book dealers on Brattle St. or was there a lively book community in that area?

On Brattle Street, in Scollay Square, the Brattle Book Shop was born and christened by its location. There it thrived until the 1960s when it succumbed to area redevelopment projects and relocated. No telling whatever came of Tenney. His business may not have been around to see the 1960s. Perhaps it continued under another name or was purchased by another dealer. At least for awhile, around the turn of the last century, there were a couple of book shops on Brattle St. in Boston for collectors to find old books.


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