Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

University Place Book Shop records, 1930-1994

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection consists of correspondence, business records, and appraisal drafts relating to the University Place Book Shop and its owner and proprietor, Walter Goldwater. The collection also includes material pertaining to Goldwater's involvement in the Marshall Chess Club.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1277
Bib ID 4079884 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Goldwater, Walter
Title University Place Book Shop records, 1930-1994
Physical Description 3 linear feet (3 linear feet 6 boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two series. Series I. Book Trade, 1930-1994 Series II. Chess, 1941-1990.

Description

Summary

This collection consists of correspondence, invoices, appraisals, and other business records of the University Place Book Shop and proprietor Walter Goldwater. Also included are correspondence and photographs relating to Goldwater's participation in the chess community and the Marshall Chess Club in New York City.

  • Series I: Book Trade

    This series consists of four boxes of material relating to the operation of the University Place Book Shop. The majority of the material is correspondence to and from the Book Shop's proprietor, Walter Goldwater. Although nearly all of the correspondence relates to the book trade or the shop, some of it is also personal in nature, documenting Goldwater's personal friendships, rivalries, and partnerships. Correspondence with university departments and libraries during the 1960s and 1970s documents the growing interest in African and African diaspora literature in that period. Also included is a small amount of material relating to Goldwater's professional activities as an appraiser and seller of rare books and manuscript collections, including the papers of Trotskyist leader Max Shachtman.

  • Series II: Chess

    The materials in this two-box series document Walter Goldwater's interest and involvement in the game of chess. Some of the material related to Goldwater's membership in the Marshall Chess Club. Other materials include records and photographs of the Harlem Chess Tournament he helped to organize, and correspondence from Book Shop customers interested in books on chess and other board games.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); University Place Book Shop records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- Other Repositories

James T. Farrell Papers, ca. 1960-1964. University of Delaware, Special Collections Department.

Max Shachtman Papers, TAM 103 (R-7203), New York University Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.

University Place Book Shop Papers, 1968-1988. University of Delaware, Special Collections Departments, MS 207.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Records, 1930-1994 Processed HR 02/26/1996.

This collection processed by Eve Mayer, Pratt Institute 2011.

This finding aid written by Eve Mayer, Pratt Institute, 2011 March 2011.

Revision Description

2011-04-01 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Book lists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
American literature -- African American authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Antiquarian booksellers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Blacks -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Booksellers and bookselling Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bookstores -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Businessmen Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chess Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chess clubs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chess players Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Goldwater, Walter Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Marshall Chess Club Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Out-of-print books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Radicalism -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rare books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Shachtman, Max, 1903-1972 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Walter Goldwater first opened the University Place Book Shop in 1932. He financed the Shop, situated in a loft at 821 Broadway at 12th Street, with the help of a six hundred dollar loan from "a Communist uncle by marriage." Goldwater specialized in African and African American literature, as well as old and rare books. As proprietor of University Place, Goldwater became part of the vibrant community of booksellers whose shops crowded Fourth Avenue from 9th to 14th Streets.

Walter Goldwater was a founding member of Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and spent much of his time in search of rare books. He married another bookseller, Eleanor Lowenstein, who specialized in rare cookbooks at her Corner Book Shop. Together, the Goldwaters traveled extensively in Europe, looking for stock for their respective shops. Walter Goldwater also maintained a web of contacts throughout Africa and the Caribbean who would send him books not readily accessible in the United States.

Initially catering to a specialized, left-wing audience, Goldwater's sales expanded during the later 1960s and 1970s as research universities developed their Black and Afro American Studies holdings. The University Place Book Shop became a key source of material on African, African American, and Caribbean literature for institutions including Yale and Columbia. Walter Goldwater also helped to broker the sale of many manuscripts and collections relating to labor and Left to NYU's Tamiment Library.

Along with African and Caribbean literature, the University Place Book Shop also offered literature on chess due to Goldwater's personal devotion to the game. At the time of his death, in 1985, Goldwater was the president of the Marshall Chess Club in Greenwich Village. He also helped to organize and promote chess tournaments in Harlem during the 1970s.

Goldwater willed University Place to a friend and employee, William French, who ran the Shop until 1988.