When I was at university ( or, as they say now in various places, at uni or at college) there was no such thing as a college bookstore where a student could retreat, reading list in hand, and pick up all the texts required for upcoming courses. We sat down, fountain pens in hand, and wrote to our bookstore of choice (Foyles on Charing Cross Road, Blackwells in Oxford come to mind) to request the texts we needed for the upcoming term—or was it semester, I don't remember. We politely asked for second hand texts in good shape and we trusted them not to send, and demand payment for, new ones.
|Helene Hanff's apartment is on the left, the bookstore of Marks and Co. on the right.|
My husband bought books across the Atlantic from Heffers in Cambridge and Blackwells in Oxford. Sorting through one of his many piles of papers the other day he came across this letter: