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Holliday Bookshop Collection, 1921-1979
1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 10

Abstract:
Husband and wife co-owners of a bookshop in New York City that initially specialized in importing English books, as well as offering unusual and rare books, especially first editions of contemporary authors and private press books. Contains book catalogues, correspondence, writings, publicity, and photographs.
Mortimer Rare Book Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

Terence Holliday, an avid reader, worked at Brentano's in 1919, in order to learn "something about the book business." In 1920, Terence and his wife Elsa (Smith class of 1911) opened their bookshop on 10 West 47th Street in New York City. The bookshop began to slowly grow, despite the Holliday's choice to ignore the advice of Frank Crowningshield of Vanity Fair, to "have a couple of attractive young ladies serve tea in the shop every afternoon." Initially, the bookshop specialized in importing English books, as well as offering unusual and rare books, especially first editions of contemporary authors and private press books. Later, the Hollidays promoted the works of younger British and American poets and novelists, such as W. H. Auden, Thornton Wilder, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, William Faulkner, and T. S. Eliot.

In 1925, the bookshop moved to 49 West 49th Street. This location was a propitious one, since there were specialty bookshops in the area. Rather than competing for customers, the bookshops cooperated, making referrals and placing orders for each other. Unfortunately, some of the larger publishers in competition with the Holliday were not nearly as gracious. The import of English editions was made difficult by the existing copyright laws, and the invention of "limited editions" from the larger houses also threatened business.

The Hollidays weathered the Depression, with Terence lecturing occasionally and writing articles to make ends meet. However, by 1950, the difficulties of running the bookshop began to wear on Terence, and the Hollidays began to look for a buyer for their shop. A run of bad luck ensued, including two destructive fires of suspicious origin.

In 1951, the Hollidays sold their bookstore to Robert T. Vanderbilt, and retired in Milford, Connecticut. Terence Holliday died in 1969 at the age of 84. Elsa Detmold Holliday died in 1991 at the age of 100. After 31 years of existence, the Holliday bookshop had become more than a bookshop; it had become an "Institution."

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The archive of the Holliday Bookshop contains book catalogues, correspondence, writings, publicity, and photographs, dating from 1921 to 1979. The archive was donated to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 1994 by John Detmold, in memory of his aunt, Elsa Detmold Holliday, class of 1911. The collection is divided up into five series, in 52 folders.

The collection is divided up into five series, in 52 folders.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Holliday Bookshop Collection, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College.

History of the Collection

The archive was donated to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 1994 by John Detmold, in memory of his aunt, Elsa Detmold Holliday, class of 1911.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions
1921-1937


Series I. consists of book catalogues written and distributed monthly by the Hollidays (folders 1-8). These catalogues were the source of the majority of their business, as well as being valuable references for collectors and librarians.

1921-1973


Series II. contains the Bookshop correspondence, including cards and letters from Archibald MacLeish, Louisa Brooke Jones, and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt (folders 8-34).

1924-1979


Series III. consists of publicity surrounding the bookshop, including an advertisement which ran in the first issue of the New Yorker, information on the sale of the shop, and various reviews and articles written about the bookshop (folders 35-45).

1929-1930


Series IV. consists of writings by Elsa and Terence Holliday, including a history of the bookshop, and an article on bookselling for Encyclopedia Britannica (folders 46-49).




Series V. contains photographs of the Hollidays, and their close friends Irving and Ellen Berlin (folders 50-52).

Contents List
Series I. Book Catalogues,
1921-1937


Books to Read and Re-read
1921
[1 item]
Folder 1
Catalog of Modern and Contemporary Books
n.d.
[1 item]
Folder 2
Holliday Books for Christmas
1930-1950
[20 items]
Folder 3
The Holliday Book Shop. Current Books, No. 8-10
1924
[3 items]
Folder 4
The Holliday Book Shop. New & Forthcoming Books, No. 11-20
1925-1929
[9 items]
Folder 5
The Holliday Book Shop. New & Forthcoming Books, No. 21-23
1929-1931
[3 items].
Folder 6
Note:

No. 23 annotated in pencil on the back cover.

100 Good Books
[1937]
[1 item]
Folder 7
Ten Favorite Books
n.d.
[1 item]
Folder 8
Series II. Correspondence,
1921-1973


Bogan, Louise. ALS
1943 Aug 1

Folder 9
Brandt & Brandt. TLS
1952 Mar 18

Folder 10
Brandt & Brandt. TLS
1952 Mar 31

Folder 10
From Elsa Holliday. TL
1952 Apr 1

Folder 10
Brandt & Brandt. TLS
1952 Apr 3

Folder 10
From Elsa Holliday. TL
1952 May 14

Folder 10
Brandt & Brandt. TLS
1952 May 20

Folder 10
Carter, John and Ernestine. Card and envelope
1940 Dec 27

Folder 11
Curtiss, Mina. TLS
1951 Aug 4

Folder 12
Doubleday, Page and Co. TLS
1924 Feb 24

Folder 13
From Holliday Book Shop. TL
1924 Feb 25

Folder 13
Doubleday, Page and Co. TLS
1924 Feb 27

Folder 13
Encyclopedia Britannica. TLS
1928 Sep 14

Folder 14
Encyclopedia Britannica. TLS
1928 Sep 20

Folder 14
From Terence Holliday. TLS
1928 Sep 27

Folder 14
Fletcher, Frank Irving. TLS
1923 Jul 20

Folder 15
Gregg, Eleanor and Alan. ALS
1951 Oct 22

Folder 16
Harpers' Bazaar. TLS
1938 Jul 19

Folder 17
Holliday, Terence and Elsa. ACS
1921
2 copies
Folder 18
Holliday Book Shop. TL
1924 Dec 4

Folder 19
Jones, Louisa Brooke. ACS
1943 Aug 12

Folder 20
Jones, Louisa Brooke. ALS
1951 Jul 26

Folder 20
MacLeish, Archibald. TLS
1943 Aug 9

Folder 21
Marshall, Lenore G. ALS
1943 Aug 10

Folder 22
McFee, William. ALS and envelope
1922 Nov 27

Folder 23
New Yorker



Advertising Dept. TLS
1925 Mar 16

Folder 24
Advertising Dept. TLS
1925 Mar 16

Folder 24
Editorial Offices. TLS
1975 Mar 11
3 copies
Folder 24
Peirce, Albert E. Care of Mrs. C. M. Thomas. 2 bills and ACS sent from Terence Holliday
1930 Jun 6

Folder 25
Random House. ACS
1938 Jun 29

Folder 26
Roosevelt, Mrs. Theodore. ACS
n.y. Aug 31

Folder 27
Shawn, William. Draft letter by Elsa Holliday
n.d.

Folder 28
Simon and Schuster. TLS
1942 Apr 29

Folder 29
Simon and Schuster. TLS
1942 May 8

Folder 29
Simon and Schuster. TLS
1942 Jul 7

Folder 29
Smith College Library. TLS
1962 Jul 31

Folder 30
Smith College Museum of Art. TLS
1973 May 30

Folder 31
Sze, Marimai. ALS
1943 Aug 8

Folder 32
Sze, Marimai. ALS
1952 Jun 2

Folder 32
Whistler, Laurence. ALS
1952 Sep 19

Folder 33
Wilson, Edmund. ALS and transcript.
1951 Jul 29

Folder 33a
Unidentified [first initial V]
n.d.

Folder 34
Series III. Publicity,
1924-1979


Advertisement for special edition of book entitled The Squire's Home-made Wines
1924 Feb.

Folder 35
Article describing popularity of recent books from England at the Holliday Bookshop
n.d.

Folder 36
Article describing lecture given by Mrs. Terence Holliday at the American Association of University Women
n.d.

Folder 37
Bulletin of The New York Library Club. Includes speech made by Terence Holliday, "Not Everyone Reads Best Sellers" at the January Meeting
1930 Jan 30

Folder 38
Note:

SEE ALSO: "Writings" for typescript version of speech, found loose inside bulletin which differs from version in bulletin.

Cartoon of the Holliday Book Shop. Caption reads "The Holiday Book Shop at 49 East 49th Street,"
n.d.

Folder 39
"Holliday Bookshop sold to British Book Centre." Article from Publisher's Weekly in the "Retailing" section
1961 Apr 3

Folder 40
"A Magazine in Transition is the Talk of the Town." Article from New York Times on William Shawn and the New Yorker
1979 May 27

Folder 41
New Yorker. Reproduction of first issue, with advertisement for Holliday Book Shop on pg. 26
1925 Feb 21

Folder 42
Review of The Squire's Home-made Wines
1924 Feb

Folder 43
Tallis, Thomas. Printed copy of inscription on tomb
n.d.

Folder 44
"Terence Holliday to Address Literary Department." Article from The Villager
1931 Dec 1

Folder 45
Series IV. Writings,
1929-1930


HOLLIDAY, ELSA



"Holiday [sic] in Name Only." Mimeographed manuscript, annotated in pen.
n.d.
39 pages
Folder 46
"Holiday [sic] in Name Only." Typescript manuscript, annotated in pencil.
n.d.
39 pages
Folder 46
Note:

Both copies are ascribed to both Elsa and Terence, but were written solely by Elsa.

Note:

SEE ALSO: "Correspondence," Brandt and Brandt, regarding publication of the manuscript.

"The Literary Scene in New York in the 20's, 30's & 40's." Typescript draft of talk given by Elsa Holliday at meeting of American Association of University Women
n.d.

Folder 47
HOLLIDAY, TERENCE



"Bookselling in the United States." Typescript draft. For inclusion in the Encyclopedia Brittanica
1930

Folder 48
["Not Everyone Reads Best Sellers"]. Typescript version of talk given at The New York Library Club.
1930 Jan 30

Folder 49
"Not Everyone Reads Best Sellers." Publishers's Weekly
1929 Jul 27

Folder 49
"Not Everyone Reads Best Sellers." Reprinted by The Holliday Book Shop from Publishers' Weekly.



Series V. Photographs



3 black and white photographs of Terence and Elsa Holliday.


Folder 50
Ellen and Irving Berlin and 3 daughters. Photograph mounted on Christmas card.


Folder 51
3 color transparencies and one color photograph depicting Terence Holliday and a model at The Holliday Book Shop.


Folder 52

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Bookstores--New York (State)--New York.
  • Holliday Bookshop.
  • Holliday, Elsa Detmold.
  • Holliday, Terrance.

Contributors
  • Holliday, Elsa Detmold.
  • Holliday, Terrance.


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