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Torch Press Book Shop



Luther Brewer (1853-1933), perhaps best remembered for his extraordinary collection of material by and about Leigh Hunt, established The Torch Press in 1907. That same year, The Torch Press bought interests in the Republican Printing Company. Soon, both printers outgrew their space and moved to a four-story in Cedar Rapids, just blocks from their original location. The new space, combined with Brewer’s personal interests, resulted in the opening of the Torch Press Book Shop in 1909.

The Torch Press Book Shop was dedicated to selling used and rare books, both through its retail location and its mail order patrons. Established author William Harvey Miner supervised the shop, and Brewer’s own interests in collecting helped the store grow naturally. By 1911, the Torch Press Book Shop was considered one of the most frequented bookstores west of Chicago. Also of note were the Torch Press Book Shop’s catalogs, which collected and advertised a range of the store’s materials, from Abraham Lincoln ephemera to general literature.

The Torch Press Book Shop operated in that same four-story alongside The Torch Press and the Republican Printing Company until the store closed in 1917. In mid-1920s, Brewer divested himself of most of his interest in the Republican Printing Company, retaining only a position of vice-president, in order to devote himself to book printing and collecting.

See also an article by Thomas L. Carney and Joyce Crawford, The Torch Press: A Preliminary History.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Torch Press Book Shop Records

Identifier: MsC0167

The Torch Press Bookshop was started by Luther Brewer in 1909, and sold books at a storefront in Cedar Rapids as well as to mail-order patrons until 1917.

Dates: 1908-1915