The Financial Times reports the closure of Maggs Bros. bookstore in Berkeley Square where it has been located for about 80 years. The plan is to move to new premises yet to be located. One advantage of the move has been the discovery of letters from writers that have been lurking in their files. This includes one:
written by Joseph Conrad in 1922. “Would you care to take over either 50 copies of each for £200, or 60 copies of each for 200 guineas?” wrote the hard-up novelist. Maggs takes another letter from the file, this one written by Henry James in 1913 magisterially requesting to be taken off the firm’s mailing list: “I am chiefly interested in never again purchasing books; being very old and having already so many more than I can house or read.”
“We found dozens of letters in nooks and crannies we didn’t know existed,” says [manager of the firm Ed] Maggs as he shows me others from Evelyn Waugh and Harry Houdini.
The contents of the Waugh letters are not otherwise discussed nor are they listed in the store’s online catalogue. We can only hope for more details when they are, as seems likely, put up for sale.