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Dover Books: 1945

Dover Books: 1945

March 23, 1945. "Dover Book Shop, 2672 Broadway, New York." Among the offerings: "Dr. Quizzler's Mind Teasers." Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

At Ease!

Kilroy writes, over three years ago, "I only wish I could make out the name of the author of the 'At Ease!' book." Jules Leopold.

Caesar and Christ

Volume three of Will and Ariel Durant's 11-volume world history was published in 1944 the previous year. No lightweight bookstore this. I'd love to be able to scan the titles on the rest of the shelves.

Now Serving in the old Dover's

The cool-jazz Modernist design of the Dover Shop has been replaced by the salsa fresca excitement of Mama Mexico.

Dover Books Today

Dover Books is still in business, with a HQ in Mineola, NY and a thriving online store where you can probably find and order many of the titles on the shelves in this picture.

What I love best? Their coffee table books of old photos.

Is that Nancy Drew?

Dave, is there any way you can post a close up of the shelves on the back wall? I think those just might be Nancy Drew (and probably other popular series) books in their original editions. The spines and cover art certainly look right from this distance. Nancy first appeared in 1930 and there were 22 titles by 1945.

[It's the Hardy Boys ("The Melted Coins") and "Heidi's Children." - Dave]

I would have loved to browse this shop

even though I was only seven years old when this picture was taken. My love of reading and of books themselves was already well developed.

I fear that the death of "real" books is not too distant. One gets the same information from an E-book, a Kindle, or a computer screen, but not the same experience. A future book store will lack the old ambiance, especially the wonderful smell of books. That joy was really present in the un-airconditioned public libraries of my youth. In the Summer, when I had the freedom to hang out at the library, the smell of old paper and old bindings was one of the best parts of the visit!

Gorgeous place

I simply love the graceful curves, the lighting, and the general air of coziness. Amid classics like "Black Boy" and "The Yearling," there are a lot of titles here that time is threatening to forget: "Yankee Stranger" by Elswyth Thane, "Anything Can Happen" by George & Helen Papashvily, and "Bet It's a Boy" by Betty Bacon Blunt. Someone go out and read them. Save them from their fate!


Many of Dover Books' offerings are now available at even though they are out of print:

Yankee Stranger by Elswyth Thane
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Caesar and Christ by Will Durant
Plowman's Folly by Edward Faulkner

I only wish I could make out the name of the author of the "At Ease!" book.

Then vs Now

My grandparents' home was lined with hardbacks of just this vintage. Sadly, many were printed on coarse, acid-y paper, I suppose because of the war.

Also, think of the many categories from a modern-day Border's that are not represented here: self-help, foreign language, sci-fi, lgbt, metaphysics, youth, computers, books-on-tape, and on & on.

In fact, the stock is reminiscent of the reading selection in a long-unused church library or an older relative's seldom-visited cabin. You've got your fiction and your nonfiction, that's it.

Still, the store is remarkably clean, bright, and tasteful, with no empty latte cups on the shelves. I also love all the library-style drawer pulls. (These would be brass; those at the hardware store likely galvanized.)

And you could inflict a serious beating with that phone.

"At Ease" again

Holy cow I have that book. I bought it at a used book sale about 15 years ago. Pretty neat brain teasers and quizzes that were from Yank magazine.

Plowman's Folly

That the title, Plowman's Folly, a treatise on the practice of plowing and soil augmentation, is displayed prominently on an store endcap on Broadway in NYC surprises me. Even though the shift from an agrarian culture to a manufacturing economy was well underway in 1945, accelerated by the WWII needs and in post-War years, there must have been significant interest in farming practices for that book to be stocked in that location.

How primitive

There's no espresso bar!


I could spend all day in this little bookshop, but then again, I'm a librarian.

2672 B'way today

Recent Sales

The last sale rung up on the cash register is 61 cents. I might have been a greeting card that sold for 59 cents plus the 2 percent sales tax, rounded up to the next figure or perhaps an unsophisticated 60 cents and they forgave the fraction above 61.

"At Ease"

Was first published in 1943 by Whittlesey House, an imprint of McGraw-Hill, and featured reprints of games and quizzes originally printed in military service news outlets. (I know this because I just found it in my vast uncatalogued library.)


Nice looking store. Makes me just want to step in and browse. Of course I'd be done in five minutes, but still.

Perpetual favorite

"The Yearling" was first published in 1938 but didn't hit its peak of popularity until 1947 when the movie version was released.

We had to read this book when I was in 5th grade in the 1960s. It's pretty good but what really saved us was that the movie version was shown on "Saturday Night at the Movies" the week before the quiz.


What a beautiful cash register!

Shoplifters will be ...

The gnome above the cash register sees all.

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