Thursday, November 24, 2011

ROY PARSONS - 1909-1991

Helen Parsons of Parsons Bookshop in Auckland  has sent me the following photos which I am delighted to share..
The first one shows Roy Parsons in his Woodward Street shop (Wellington) c. 1955.
Friends helped out with its establishment…… Ernst Plischke with the design, and others including John Beaglehole with the painting….. The actual first shop was upstairs in Cable Car Lane (Wellington).
When I first came into the book trade at Beattie & Forbes Bookshop in the late 1960's Roy Parsons was the doyen of New Zealand booksellers, a man who had been a huge and energetic influence on bookselling in NZ, and I had the great pleasure and privilege of working with him on the Booksellers Association Council. Other senior booksellers on that Council included John Griffin, Bob Stables, Lou Bennet, Lew Carthew, Gordon Tait, David & Peter Emanuel, Ray Goddard, Ian Thomas and Pierce Brooke Anderson. I learned a great deal from all of them.
Above image show a sample from the regular newsletter that Roy and Nan used to publish.

They also  published Parsons Packet on an irregular basis from 1947 to 1955 with commissioned reviews and articles from writers and friends along with notes and comments Roy wrote himself.
In 1984, to mark the occasion of Roy Parson's 75th birthday, Bridget Williams, then of Port Nicholson Press, published a 48 page book containing a selection from Parsons Packet. Bridget Williams published the book as a gesture of appreciation and affection.
I am fortunate enough to own a copy of this book which Roy signed for me.
Roy Parsons was a man for whom I also held great admiration and affection. After I left the bookshop to join Penguin Books I used to visit Roy whenever I was in Wellington and spent many a happy hour listening to his reminscinces over cups of coffee (Roy of course with a cigarette in hand!) and sharing trade gossip.

Thanks for sharing the photos Helen. They brought back many happy memories.

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