Awesome Antiquarian Books – Minneapolis

This may well be our favorite Twin Cities book shop, which we visited for the first time during our recent Minnesota trip!

James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers - 250 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN

James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers – 250 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN


We spent an entirely wonderful day here!

20150630_122601_resizedTheir hours are 11-6 Monday through Saturday and by appointment.  Free parking available in a small lot on one side of the store (limited number of spaces), but also a big parking ramp nearby.

We found a nice space in the lot at opening time, around 11am.

With an inventory of over 120,000 books, our day was well occupied!


Here’s me, wondering where to start…

This beautiful and large street-level shop also houses more than 30,000 classical and jazz vinyl records, and a gallery of old prints and maps.


To say we were excited about the book selection here is an understatement, especially since there were many nice examples of our favorite specialty, decorated American trade bindings.  But of course there were thousands of interesting books in all genres, and they were in beautiful condition.  The shop is well organized and easy to browse, with pleasant surprises at every turn.


Here are just a few samples of some of the beautiful decorated bindings we found here:









James & Mary Laurie Booksellers was founded in 1969 (they were located for twenty years on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis before moving to this location).   We did not have the pleasure of meeting Mary, but Jim is a super guy, and was wonderful to us during our visit.

Here I am with Jim Laurie

Here I am with Jim Laurie.  He’s a tall one!

After hours of perusing and purchasing books, we broke away for a little pick-me-up at Dunn Brothers Coffee, just around the corner.


Great smile, great coffee!


When we returned to the book shop, we were invited to descend to their warehouse area, where many more books are stored.  Come on along!




Here were many more thousands of books, stacked to the ceiling.  Good thing we had that coffee!!

20150630_145244_resizedWe found several wonderful books down here as well, and added them to our purchases.

Can’t say enough good things about this book store — make sure you pay them a visit if you are ever in Minneapolis!

In the evening, we met my sister Karen and her husband Gene in Spring Park for a sunset cruise on her daughter and son-in-law’s boat.






The weather was perfect for a quiet evening on Lake Minnetonka

20150630_192026_resizedPerfect ending of another Minnesota-beautiful day.




Twin Cities – Biblio-fantastic!

20150626_105952_resizedThe 25th Annual Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair took place on June 26-27th, 2015, and YES, we were there!  I grew up in the great State of Minnesota, and it was time for a family visit…which happily coincided with this MWABA sponsored event.

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair - June 26-27, 2015.  Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair – June 26-27, 2015. Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Over 50 exhibitors from across the country came together at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul.

We arrived at 10:00am on Friday, thinking that’s when it opened (silly me) — only to find out that selling did not commence until 3:00pm.

This turned out to be a fortuitous error, because it caused us to drive over to Midway Used and Rare Bookstore to while away the hours, and there we discovered they were having a splendid 50th Anniversary Book Sale!


Midway Book Store   was  voted Best Used Book Store of the Twin Cities by City Pages.



Midway Used & Rare Books, owned by Tom and Kathy Stransky, was established in 1965. They are housed in a Streamline Moderne building located at the corner of University & Snelling Avenues in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Free parking spots!!  And inside there are two expansive floors of books, with excellent books in clean solid condition, in just about every genre,  from American History to Science Fiction, literature, decorated bindings, and much more.  Midway was also exhibiting at the Twin Cities Book Fair.


We had a ball here, and came away with two boxes of carefully selected books.

Another lucky break — just a few steps away we found just the kind of cool old tavern where we like to have our traditional brain lubricating pre-book fair Bloody Mary!


We didn’t even have to move the car — our space was reserved for Christensen Saloon and Midway Books exclusively!!  Perfect.

Christensen Saloon - St. Paul, Minnesota.  Have you ever seen such a long bar???

Christensen Saloon – St. Paul, Minnesota. Have you ever seen such a long bar???

We arrived back at the book fair promptly at 3:00pm, and it wasn’t long before we ran into John Phillips and his daughter Jennie from Evening Star Books.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John and Jennie recognized me from my blog!  They are friendly and fun booksellers, and had a cool selection of Literature, Mystery, Science Fiction and much more.

Evening Star books is based in Middleton, Wisconsin, and sells via their website and book fairs like this one.

Over at Sonny Ideker’s booth (Sonny Ideker, Bookseller) we found this treasure:

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)


Sonny hails from Roswell, Georgia, and exhibits at over 30 book fairs a year — so if you go to antiquarian book fairs, look for Sonny.  He had an extensive array of fine books.  This was was one of his selections we liked…

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Sonny Ideker's booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Sonny Ideker’s booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Here are some more photos from the fair…





Exhibitors came from as far east as Boston (Peter Stern) and as far west as Utah (Ken Sanders Rare Books and Back of Beyond Books).


Ron looking over a case of goodies

In our next post we’ll tell you about the book scouting we did before and after the fair on our trek to Minnesota.




Midwest Book Scouting Trip – Day 8 or 9?

One thing I learned today is that you should never try to transport a pig in a Chinese cardboard box in the back of a light plane.  But that is a very long story, and this blog is supposed to be about books!

We are still on the west side of Minneapolis, in the country, catching up with friends and family.  We went to an antique shop called Kathie’s Finds on County Road 6 in Maple Plain.   I bought an old children’s book there for my sister to read to her grandchildren called Loopy, about a plane that loves to fly in circles.  And there was a beautiful fountain there with a lion’s head which we thought would look PERFECT in our new Reading Garden back at the shop.  Honestly, we entertained the idea of shipping our books home and loading up the fountain.  But we contained our enthusiasm just enough to get over it and  stay on track with our mission…BOOKS.

The Twisted Sisters

I’ve had a rollicking good time with my two sisters, who can get pretty crazy after a glass or two of wine,  and the video below will give you some idea of just how wild things can get when we are together.  Three twisted sisters, ages 58 to 68 rolling down a big grassy hill…

Sorry, we are having technical difficulties adding the video here on the road, but we will work on it — please check back tomorrow!!

Tomorrow we’ve been invited along on a boat outing on Lake Minnetonka.  The weather promises to be beautiful, as it has been every day in Minnesota during our stay.  After that, we are leaving family behind and heading out,  back on the book trail in earnest.  Where to go next?  Iowa?  Wisconsin?  Maybe explore a little more in Minnesota?   I’ll keep you posted…

Midwest Book Scouting Trip – Day 7 – Books and Hoola Hoops

We visited two book shops yesterday morning — the first stop was Half Price Books on the Miracle Mile in Minneapolis.   Most of the books were fairly recent publications…but we purchased one nice old first edition of Edna Saint Vincent Millay’s poetry in a dust jacket ( Huntsman, What Quarry?, Harper & Brothers, 1939 ) at a very reasonable price.    Our second stop was Magers & Quinn, at 3038 Hennepin Ave. South.   We saw some very nice books here, including a signed first edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and a jacketed first edition of How to Cook A Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher.   No purchases here, though…books are priced at fair market value for collectors, not quite enough room for us to purchase for resale.

Then it was back to Sisterville(!) for a nice leisurely swim in Lake Independence, and on to my second sister’s house for an outdoor dinner and drinks around the campfire.  My sister Jeanette took out her hoola hoop and showed Karen and I a thing or two about using your hips–she makes it look so easy.  By the end of the evening, I had it down pretty good myself!  (Photos to be added soon — we are having a few technical issues here).   I’m finding that when you are on the road, you get pretty flexible at using different computers, keyboards, etc. (I’m using my sister’s Apple right now) but sometimes your fingers are hitting the wrong keys or you just don’t get a signal for your own equipment so you adapt to using whatever is available.

The weather has been beautiful, sunny and warm with nice breezes.   This morning we had an outdoor breakfast of waffles & bacon (why does food always taste so terrific outside??), took a turn through the woods to see the new outhouse (a one-holer) and progress on stacking wood for winter.   When I finish blogging here, we are taking two canoes down to Whale Tail Lake to enjoy the rest of this perfect summer day.

Midwest Book Scouting Trip – Day 4 (Eau Claire, WI and Stillwater, MN)

In case you are just joining us, we are Ron and Cathy of Old Scrolls Book Shop, used and rare book dealers, on our annual summertime two-week vagabond book scouting trip–this time through the Midwest U.S.   It’s MIDNIGHT, and I’m tired, so  bear with me.  It’s been a big day!  We left Beloit, WI this morning, heading northwest.  The first place we stopped was an antique mall in Oakfield, Wisconsin (some book booths, all over- priced books in not-so-good condition).  On to Eau Claire, where we found our way to the middle of town and parked the car between Crossroad Books and Antique Emporium on Barstow Street.  Crossroad Books is run by Mark Patterson and Sharon Ager, who were very knowledgeable and helpful.

Crossroad Books – Eau Claire, WI

and we spent a pleasant couple of hours here enjoying their well-organized shop (two floors).  We came away with a few hard-to-find early Modern Library titles, an interesting obscure travel narrative, and some old fiction and mystery titles.  All of their books are in excellent condition, neatly displayed, with lots of room for comfortable browsing.

Afterwards we headed down the street a few doors to  a beautiful shop displaying first class antiques, with lots of used books on the second floor.  The bookman, Hugh Passow, was out of town, but his helpful assistant Linda — pictured below — arrange for our visit to the rare book room.   We found a couple of titles we had been searching for, and left happy!  Thank you, Linda.

Linda at Antique Emporium – Eau Claire, WI

We continued on to Stillwater, Minnesota (got lost a few times and had to enlist the help of a taxi cab driver (who looked like a bandanna sporting biker guy–but knew his way around the block), and a real biker guy at a stop sign in the middle of a cornfield.  Well, we did arrive in Stillwater, and it is a charming town on the banks of the St. Croix River.  By now we were half-blind from looking at book titles, maps and road signs, so we stumbled from the car into a restaurant that turned out to be an Inn as well (thank God).  It’s the Water Street Inn, a great old historic building with indoor and outdoor dining, indoor and outdoor BAR, and we got a lovely suite with high ceilings, two large rooms, a jacuzzi and a gas fireplace, balcony overlooking the river–for under $100.   A place we can finally RELAX after days of pounding the road for books.

Cathy and Jeff, our marvelous mixologist at Water Street Inn
A gondola gondoleering past our room on the St. Croix!!
Hot Air Balloon hovering over the river

Catch us tomorrow — as we hook up with two authors from the St. Paul area…J. C. Hallman and William Souder!


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