In late August of 1940 a small notice at the bottom of the front page of The Concord Journal announced that a Bookshop and Lending Library would open on the 27th under the proprietorship of Mrs. Raymond Baldwin and Mrs. Edward H. Warren.
The idea for the Concord Bookshop had taken shape in the spring of 1940. Fidie Warren persuaded Joan Baldwin to join her in starting a bookshop in the other half of Miss Mary Curtis's new shop in what had been the Ford Motor Company showroom at 27 Walden St., just across from the Post Office. Ray Baldwin suggested that before they committed themselves, they should consult with Henry A. Laughlin, the recently appointed president of Houghton Mifflin Company, and a resident of Concord, who might be able to advise them.
They called him at home and outlined for him their ideas for starting a bookshop.
He listened sympathetically and agreed that running a bookshop in a town like Concord, where the reading and writing of books was highly regarded and seriously pursued, would be interesting and enjoyable. However, speaking practically, he discouraged them from going ahead with their plan. Concord was still feeling the effects of the Depression, he reasoned. Furthermore, the war in Europe might spread to involve the United States with unknown consequences for a small business. Finally, as far as he knew, neither Mrs. Warren nor Mrs. Baldwin had any business experience. For these reasons, he urged them to forget the whole idea.
They thanked him for his advice and went home to think it over.
Over 75 years and many moves later, the Concord Bookshop still serves a community in which the reading and writing of books is highly regarded and seriously pursued. We are still an independent, full-service, general bookshop offering a diverse and distinctive selection of books for all ages.
Excerpted from Tales of a Village Bookshop: The First Fifty Years by Hilary Ledlie Loring