THE HAMPSHIRE BOOKSHOP
The Hampshire Bookshop, founded in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1916 by two Smith College alumnae, Marion Dodd ’06 (1882–1961) and Mary Byers Smith ’08 (1885–1983), was called by Robert Frost “one of the few bookshops in the world where books are sold in something like the spirit they were written in.” Over the course of its fifty-five-year history the Bookshop served the Northampton community and Smith and other local colleges, but more importantly brought to Northampton over one hundred writers of national and international repute (including Frost, William Butler Yeats, Carl Sandburg, Amy Lowell, Hugh Lofting, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Thornton Wilder, Archibald MacLeish, Padraic Colum, James Stephens, Edna St. Vincent Millay, G. K. Chesterton, Vachel Lindsay, Christopher Morley, Hugh Walpole, and Bennett Cerf). It also issued more than forty publications over its own imprint (local natural histories, books related to lectures held at the Bookshop, pamphlet publications of Smith lectures, keepsakes by Robert Frost, a bibliography of Emily Dickinson). The Hampshire Bookshop device incorporated a sailing ship and Dickinson’s line, “There is no frigate like a book.”
There is no frigate like a book
Marion E. Dodd and
Mary Byers Smith
Marion Dodd (left) and Mary Byers Smith, founders of the Hampshire Bookshop, sailing off the coast of Maine, c. 1910. Photograph courtesy of the late Stepehen Stackpole, nephew of Mary Byers Smith. The Bookshop’s logotype, device, and other line drawings were produced by longtime staff member Hester Hoffman.
The Company of Books: Books Reading, & the Women of the Hampshire Bookshop
A lecture given March 13, 2003, in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Neilson Library, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, as part of the lecture series “Woolf in the Valley” presented in association with the thirteenth annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, held at the college June 5–8, 2003