One Last Trip to Bookman’s Alley

That’s right, we did it again.  Took another whirlwind road trip back to Evanston, Illinois for one last visit to Bookman’s Alley before it closes its doors at summer’s end.

Ron at the alley opening which leads to "Bookman's Alley"

Ron at the alley opening which leads to “Bookman’s Alley”

And here’s what we brought home…

Book press #1

Book press #1

Book press #2

Book press #2

And of course, more books…

More books from Bookman's Alley

More books from Bookman’s Alley

We left our Stanley, NY location on Thursday (late afternoon) and stopped for the night and a few hours of sleep just west of Toledo, Ohio.  We awakened at 4:30am on Friday, jumped into our clothes and headed for the Chicago area.

 We arrived in Evanston on that sunny Friday morning, in time to book a hotel room right across from the library and around the block from Bookman’s Alley, then squeezed into the Evanston Public Library Early Bird F.O.L. sale opening at 9 a.m.  The sale was quite good, by the way, although it’s held in a small area which is very crowded.   Books are individually priced at this sale.

We packed away the books from the sale and arrived at Bookman’s Alley just at noon when the store opens.  This time they knew we were coming!  We found Proprietor Roger Carlson sitting at the helm of his wonderful book shop – right where we left him when we stopped in back in early June.

Roger Carlson, Bookman. (Bookman's Alley, Evanston, IL)

Roger Carlson, Bookman.
(Bookman’s Alley, Evanston, IL)


Bookman’s Alley has been in this location for thirty years, and it will be missed.  It was a happening place all day long, with customers and friends popping in and out – and everyone lamenting the store’s impending closing, some bringing gifts or food or tokens of appreciation in to Roger, others coming for a last look and purchasing books.

A talented Chicago artist, John Michael Downs, brought in a portfolio of gorgeous watercolor paintings he did for Roger — scenes from the interior of the bookstore, and of Roger, that just blew us away.  He beautifully captured the essence of the place.

We spent the entire day in the shop, selecting more books, visiting with Roger, Greg and Dave, and various friends and customers who came into the store.  I was even working there for awhile – Roger sent customers off with me here and there in the shop to find what they were after, saying, “You know the store better than I do now!”  What fun.

We took some photos when it was quiet, near closing time.  The shelves are beginning to have large gaps.  A lot of the interesting decorative items have left the building, along with many books…


 I’m going to miss this place.


 We’re just so happy we had the opportunity to spend another day in this very special book store, and that we were able to purchase the book presses.  Ron has been in need of a book press for a long time for use in book repairs and construction of his beautiful clamshell cases.  Now we have two presses – and they will be ever-present reminders of a beloved antiquarian book shop…Roger Carlson’s Bookman’s Alley in Evanston, Illinois.


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on Literate Comments and commented:
    Nice post on a great bookstore.

    • Thanks for your comment, Erik, and for reading my blog. A book store like that should go on forever…
      – Cathy

  2. Nice bunch of books! I see some familiar faces in there. A Mountain Woman by Bruce Rogers, The GB Shaw by Frank Hazenplug, Tristram of Blent by Will Jordan and The Log of the Sun by Walter King Stone. This cover is one I used to identify the artist behind the monogram. I discussed it with Charles Gullans (the monogram, first noted on Flowers Every Child Should Know) back in the early 1970’s, and it took many years to find the book (I call it my Rosetta Stone) but dear Charles was gone to Book Mans heaven, alas. Sent the scan to Minsky years ago but he refused to call it a Rosetta Stone. Never got credit for the discovery. Stone did several nature illus. books, which I am still chasing. Enjoyed, as always, your blog and book trips. Thanks for the neat pics. I will miss the mans shop even tho I never got to it! And I grew up in Chicago! ~(:-))

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your message! I’m sure there are some recognizable friends in the book photo…surely you have some of them on your shelf. And there’s more…much more. If I find a few spare moments to get them cataloged, you will get to see them!
      I’m really sad to see Bookman’s Alley close. )-: My favorite bookstore (besides our own)!!

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