Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Parsons Bookshop

One of the pleasures of second hand books is finding the assorted treasures that people use as bookmarks; old photographs, Lucky Kiwi tickets, ancient library cards, postcards...there are times when these objects seem to belong to the book, so I leave them in place, but many items join my ever expanding collection of ephemera. Here are two of my favourite actual bookmarks.

Front of bookmark

The first is an early one from Parsons Bookshop - now known as Parsons Library Supply. That is the Auckland Parsons - Roger and his wife Helen, not to be confused with Parsons Books & Music in Wellington, run by Rogers brother and sister Julian and Beatrice. Though to add to any confusion I shall include pictures of the Wellington store...just because it was so darn stylish.

Kitchener Street, c1973
Back of bookmark

Massey House

"In 1958 Parsons relocated his shop to 126 Lambton Quay, a capacious ground-floor space in Massey House, designed by the Austrian architect Ernst Plischke; Plischke and his wife, Anna, were among the close group of friends that the Parsonses, as immigrants themselves, formed in Wellington. Roy and Nan embraced Plischke’s concept of ‘design and books’ on a central city street. The walls were lined with Penguins in single-colour dustjackets (orange for fiction, green for crime), and the best new books from Britain and America."  Bridget Williams. 'Parsons, Roy George - Parsons, Roy George', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara. - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012

 Then, in an entirely different vein there is this Government Bookshop bookmark, which I vaguely recall thinking was 'neat', but then I was about 9 years old at the time. I have been unable to find any real reference to these bookshops, other than that they sold parliamentary papers, copies of the Budget, that sort of thing, a market killed off by the Internet as early as 1999.