the book seller

"I knew much later what I didn't know then, so I did not remain in my six year apprenticeship with Henry Southern, booksellers. I was eighteen and thought London in the 1960's was far too three dimensional to work at a job selling books.  Half a decade later I was collecting books but had not entertained a consideration to selling any of them. Footloose and free, but without the fancy part that money offered, I was slipping into dull humdrum with occasional bouts of jocularity, as the amusement park photo attests to.  A couple of decades or more later, my collection had turned into a book scouting commodity and then into a bookstore in Blue Hill, Maine.  In September of 2008, we opened Barrister Books in Staunton, Virginia."

- Anthony Baker

anthony baker, london, mid-1970's

anthony baker, london, mid-1970's

the building

We were immediately taken with the location and exterior design of 1 - 3 Lawyers Row.  In our search for a downtown building to house the bookstore, this spot was a good fit. Importantly the second floor housed the offices of two lawyers, their rent contributing substantially to the mortgage payment.  The original building, a 16-foot by 14-foot structure, was built about 1840 and shortly thereafter became the law office of notable Staunton resident and Civil War hero General John Imboden. In the decades following two buildings were built and attached to the original, one a dwelling and the other a commercial establishment, and about 1928 a second story was added, uniting the buildings by substantial changes in brickwork to achieve an overall uniformity and pleasing design.  Remodeling the first floor to house the bookstore required substantial changes. The two rear rooms were taken down to the dirt and rebuilt to current building standards.  Intriguing aspects of former domesticity were revealed, many bottles, cutlery, a couple of inkwells, the rusted remains of an axe and various other pieces of hardware.  Following months of renovations, in September of 2008, we opened Barrister Books.