Treasures from New York City Indie Bookstore Donated to Library

by Staff

An anonymous donor who paid $440,000 for a treasure trove of books and magazines from the Gotham Book Mart, an independent bookstore in New York City that was forced to close in 2007, has donated the collection to the University of Pennsylvania's Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Reuters reports. The collection, which includes 220,000 books, periodicals, posters, and catalogues, was stored in 3,800 boxes in a Connecticut warehouse since the store's closing.

David McKnight, director of the library at the University of Pennsylvania, says the collection is worth at least four million dollars. "This is something of a coup," he told Reuters. "It's an incredible literary archive and is going to help us fill in the gaps of our collection on the history of literary publishing in the 20th century." Among the donated items are works by Henry Miller and Tennessee Williams, around 55,000 literary magazines, and texts dating back to the 18th century that were collected by the Gotham Book Mart's founder, the late Frances Steloff, who opened the store's doors in 1920 and died in 1989 at age 101.