Fred Bass, the owner of New York City’s famous Strand Book Store, passed away this morning surrounded by his loved ones.
Bass was born in Manhattan’s East Village on June 28, 1928, at which point the Strand had already been opened by his father. The Strand made it out of the Great Depression and World War II. By the time he was 13, he was already a part of his father’s business, collecting books from around the city for the Strand to sell.
The Strand is one of the most famous bookstores in the world, thanks in large part to Bass. The Strand used to boast “8 miles of books” on a sign in its window, but after a 2005 renovation under the leadership of Bass, they changed the sign to “18 miles of books.” The store has about 2.5 million titles inside. No wonder it’s always packed.
Fred and his daughter Nancy. | Image Via Publishers Weekly
His daughter Nancy has served as co-manager of the store and will continue after her father’s passing. Regarding his passing, Nancy said:
I grew up at the Strand, at first sharpening pencils, shelving books and answering phones. For over 30 years, I have had the privilege of working alongside of my dad managing the store. He never had an office and loved when customers told him they enjoyed “getting lost in the stacks”. He spent all of his time behind his buying desk, eager to see what treasures would come across it. He felt working with books was the best job in the world.
Feature Image Via New York Post