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Smith Libraries Exhibits

End of an Era

Poster for poetry reading at Fauxpas, with Hampshire Bookshop storefront image, circa 1971

Poster for poetry reading at Fauxpas, with Hampshire Bookshop storefront image, circa 1971

Cynthia Walsh resigned in 1965 as Hampshire Bookshop president and manager, for personal reasons that were never disclosed. Robert Hale bought the business in 1966, taking over in an era of changes in retailing—including the start of “strip malls” on King Street in Northampton—which drew commerce away from the heart of downtown. Hale also shifted the focus of the Hampshire Bookshop away from trade books towards gifts, stationery, and even office supplies. In 1969, Hale sold the Bookshop (the business, but not the building) to Ralph and Ouida Intorcio. They were under-financed and overwhelmed by the demands of a retail establishment. In 1970, first the Campus Branch on Green Street closed; it had opened in 1931, catering to Smith students for textbooks and school supplies. Soon after, the Main Street storefront ceased operations, in large part due to mounting debt. The contents—books and furnishings—were sold at auction. Since then, the building at 8 Crafts Avenue has had numerous owners and retail businesses.

The poster from 1971, using surplus paper printed with an image of the Hampshire Bookshop storefront, announces a poetry reading at Fauxpas, a leather goods and craft store and gallery. Note that the “Poetry Blitz” was “dedicated to the old Hampshire Bookshop,” which had so recently vacated the space.