navbar.jpg (72356 bytes)

A 100-Year-Old Tradition of
Buying and Selling Out-of-Print Periodicals
       

This history of our business is reprinted from Periodyssey's January 2008 catalog:
          This catalog (coincidentally numbered 115) marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Back Number Wilkins (which we absorbed in 1998) and the 15th anniversary of the founding of Periodyssey.  Needless to say, we are proud to be a part of a 100-year-old tradition of buying and selling out-of-print periodicals that stretches all the way back to the final days of TR's presidency.   Fred Wilkins established Back Number Wilkins in Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1908.  Unlike his competitors, who catered to the library market, Wilkins made a specialty of selling to the public.  Jim Fleming bought the business in 1946 and continued that tradition.  After Jim died in 1994, we purchased the business from his widow, Alice.
          I began Periodyssey in the pre-internet days of 1993, envisioning it as an old-fashioned antiquarian business built on quarterly catalogs of recently purchased highpoints.  It soon became clear that in order to acquire the highpoints, I often had to purchase hundreds of other lesser issues.  Then I learned that this wasn
't necessarily a bad thing, because people had wants that I couldn't have possibly anticipated.  Who knew this person's great-grandfather was a regular contributor to Scribner's Magazine in the 1890s?  Who would have thought that someone else was looking for the October 1905 issue of House Beautiful because it featured the early 20th century home that they were currently renovating?
          Before 1994 was out, this evening occupation turned into my full-time employment.  Inevitably, space became an issue.  In 1995, we moved the business from high-rent Washington, DC, to bucolic Northampton, Massachusetts.  In 1996, we purchased the remnants of the venerable J. S. Canner Co., in 1998, the massive stock of Back Number Wilkins, and in 1999, the select high-end stock of Leon Williams.  By that time, we had outgrown our Northampton digs and had moved into warehouse space in Eastworks, in nearby Easthampton.  By that time, as well, I had enlisted my wife, Monica Green, as business manager and had hired Kayt Thompson (then Ehrmann) as office manager.  Though we have moved once since then within Eastworks, and we have employed more than a dozen good folk off and on over the last decade, the configurations of the business have largely remained unchanged: I
'm in charge of buying and selling, Kayt skillfully mans the office and computer communications, and Monica diligently monitors the books.
          I have found my work of the last fifteen years thrilling.  Some of our most exciting acquisitions and sales have included: complete or long runs of The Dial, Harper
's Weekly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, the Southern Illustrated News, Puck, the German Puck (the publisher's set), Judge (the publisher's set), Ladies' Home Journal, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Time, The New Yorker, and countless lesser titles.  We have handled the rarest Hawthorne, Poe, Twain, Fitzgerald, and Salinger periodical appearances, among many great writers.  And we have sold magazines featuring the lovely artwork of Will Bradley, Maxfield Parrish, Harrison Fisher, and Norman Rockwell, to name only the most obvious.  I feel honored to be associated with such beautiful and fascinating artifacts of our cultural past and all of us at Periodyssey look forward to the years ahead.  Thank you for your business.

Rich West

|| Inventory || Catalog || Auctions ||
|| Want Lists || Payment Options ||
|| Periodyssey Press || NYCDN ||
|| Related Sites || Our History || Home ||