Bargain Bookstore and book collecting business records, 1921-1984
Scope and Contents
Contains business correspondence, invoices, and other material relating to Fred A. Rosenstock's Bargain Bookstore, dated from 1921-1984.
- Rosenstock, Fred A., 1895- (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Open for public research, except for a folder of negatives, which are restricted.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biographical / Historical
Fred Asher Rosenstock was born November 29, 1895 to a Jewish family in Biala Potol, Austria, and was named Selig Usher Rosenstock. At the age of nine he immigrated with his family to America where he took the name Fred Asher Rosenstock. The family settled in Rochester, New York.
Rosenstock's youth was spent in Rochester. Following his elementary schooling, Fred entered secretarial training where he became extremely proficient in shorthand. He entered the army in 1917 and served during World War I as a stenographer to the Surgeon General of the United States Army in Washington, D.C. Following his release from the army in 1919, Fred was employed in Wahington, D. C., in an advertising firm, but his health began to fail as a result of the severe Washington D.C. climate. He was advised by his doctor to go to a drier climate such as Arizona or California.
In 1920, he boarded a train for California, but due to the untimely loss of his glasses, he was forced to stop in Denver until he could procure a new pair. After a week's stay in the "Mile-High City," Rosenstock determined not to proceed on to California, but to make Colorado his permanent home. In Denver, while pursuing his interest in business, he frequented bookstores as he had done from his youth, adding to a growing collection in the fields of history and literature. In 1922, he opened his own bookstore. As a bookman, he specialized in literary first editions, school books, selected books of general interest, and Western Americana. He was able to locate original diaries and manuscript collections of considerable historical treasures, which led him into the publishing business. Rosenstock married Francis Goodman, a native of Denver, born April 19, 1905. During all the years in the book business in Denver, Francis was a full partner in business and collecting ventures, working in the bookstore side by side with Fred.
Fred's Old West Publishing Company became a trademark for source materials relating to the history of the West as well as for fine workmanship in printing, illustrating, and binding. Rosenstock himself, through personal drive and study, became a nationally recognzied scholar in the field of Western Americana. Rosenstock assisted hundreds of Western historians and authors in their attempts to secure historical information and background data to help them describe and accurately convey the spirit of the West.
Rosenstock also developed an interest for western art and began a serious collection of the works of Charles M. Russell and other western artists. In 1976, two weeks after the sale of his book stock to a firm in Lincoln, Nebraska, not being content with retirement, Rosenstock opened a gallery of western art.
Brigham Young University Library's association with Fred A. Rosenstock commenced in 1953. Director of Libraries, S. Lyman Tyler, began to call at the Bargain Bookstore and make a few selections in the field of Western Americana and Mormonism. It was in discussions with Fred Rosenstock that Tyler became aware that Rosenstock planned to dispose of all his general books except Americana. As they became friends and as a new library building was under construction at BYU, Rosenstock proposed that BYU acquire his general stock. In 1961, his collection of literary first editiions and over 100,000 volumes from his general stock were acquired by BYU's Harold B. Lee Library.
From this time on Fred Rosenstock became a major source in the growth of the BYU Library. A close personal relationship developed between the Rosenstocks, Lyman Tyler, and Dean Larsen. Rosenstock began to give the BYU Library first refusal on all items he acquired and also began to make selections from his personal library in his home. He also began a practice of making periodic gifts to the Library. In August 1961, Rosenstock was invited to serve on the Council of the Friends of the Library.
In recognition of his expertise in the book world and for his significant contributions to the historical record of Western Americana and the development of the BYU Library, Fred A. Rosenstock was awared the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, at BYU commencement exercises held on May 28, 1971.
The Rosenstocks were the parents of one daughter: Marilyn. Francis died in Denver on July 31, 1972. After the death of Francis, Fred remained active in the business until he had a stoke in 1984. He died in Denver, February 15, 1986, at the age of 90.
9 boxes (4.5 linear ft.)
Language of Materials