Sunday, January 15, 2012

LEFT INSIDE: A.C. McClurg Bookstore Receipt

This was found inside my copy of Wings by Achmed Abdullah, the only copy to date that I know of that has a dust jacket.  It's a collection of short stories that deal with mysticism and the supernatural elements of Asian religions.  Judging by the date of publication of Wings (1920) and the date on the receipt (April 9, 1921) it's very possible that this is the original purchase receipt from the original owner of this book. But then again, maybe it's just a slip for the purchase of paper and pens.  I notice that there are quantities of 6 and 3 and the only single price is 35 cents.  A hardcover book cost $2.00 in the 1920s.

Front of receipt
Back of receipt
"Examined / APR 9  1921/ Main Floor"
Receipt found laid inside this book


A.C. McClurg was a leading publisher that began as Chicago's oldest book and stationery store. The publishing house is probably best known among bibliophiles as the firm responsible for bringing Tarzan to a larger reading public. In 1914 they released Tarzan of the Apes as a book after it's first appearance in the October 1912 issue of All Story Magazine.  It was the most popular title in the publisher's history. They went on to publish ten more titles before Burroughs set up his own publishing operation.

From the history of the bookstore at The Newberry Library website:

A.C. McClurg & Co. traces its origins to Chicago’s oldest book and stationery store which was founded in 1844. The young Alexander C. McClurg went to work for the company, then known as S. C. Griggs, in 1859. McClurg resumed working for Griggs after returning from the Civil War with the rank of general. S.C. Griggs lost all its contents in a fire in 1868. But when the store was completely destroyed by the great Chicago Fire of 1871, Griggs decided to sell his share of the company to E. L. Jansen, A. C. McClurg and F. B. Smith. Jansen, McClurg & Co. was established in 1872. The business flourished and in 1873 published its first title, Landscape Architecture by H. W. S. Cleveland. By 1880 McClurg’s ranked as one of the country’s largest book distributors. In addition to its wholesale book business, McClurg supplied to small-town retailers throughout the West and Midwest a variety of merchandise, including “blank books and tablets, stationery, typewriter paper and supplies, hair and tooth brushes, druggists’ sundries, pocketbooks, pipes, pocket cutlery, etc.

For more about the original A.C. McClurg bookstore go here.

To learn about the Newberry Library and their bookstore named in honor of A.C. McClurg go here.

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