Old Corner Bookstore

Constructed in 1718, the Old Corner Bookstore is downtown Boston’s oldest commercial building and was home to the 19th-century publishing giant Ticknor and Fields, producer of many venerable American titles including Thoreau’s Walden, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Longfellow's Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and the Atlantic Monthly including Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic. Saved from demolition in 1960, the building’s leases help subsidize important historic preservation projects in Boston’s neighborhoods.

Visiting Old Corner Bookstore

283 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02108

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283 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02108

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  • (617) 442-1859
  • Owned by Historic Boston Inc

    Historic Boston Inc.

    Historic Boston Incorporated is a non-profit organization that works with local partners to identify and redevelop historically significant buildings in Boston’s neighborhoods

    Located on the site of Anne Hutchinson’s home, the Old Corner Bookstore was constructed in 1718 by Dr. Thomas Crease as his home and apothecary shop. It later housed a number of booksellers and publishers, the most famous of which was Ticknor and Fields, publishers of many well-known American titles including Thoreau’s Walden, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Alcott’s Little Women, Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the Atlantic Monthly. Many of the great writers of the American Renaissance — Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and many others — were first published here, and the first American editions of Charles Dickens works were issued from this building.

    In 1960, when the site was to be demolished for a new parking garage, a group of Bostonians, concerned about the impending loss of an important piece of the city’s architecture and heritage, formed the non-profit Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) and pooled their resources and connections to acquire and restore the building for continued use as retail shops and commercial offices.

    Religious Freedom

    Anne Hutchinson lived on this spot during the time when she became a controversial religious leader. She held weekly scripture readings in her home that were attended by as many as 80 people, one-tenth of the population of Boston at the time. Charged with heresy for her unlicensed preaching, Hutchinson was excommunicated and exiled to Rhode Island in 1638, where she founded the town of Portsmouth. She was later slaughtered along with most of her children in 1643 in New Netherland. She is commemorated with a statue on the lawn of the Massachusetts State House. Photo Credit: Digital Commonwealth

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