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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two series.
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.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
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.
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.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of William French, 1996.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Records, 1930-1994: Source of acquisition--French, William. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--01/05/1996. Accession number--M-96-01-05.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
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.
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.
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.