Meet #nbbookfest bookseller Larry Jaquith

Larry Jaquith brought something much-needed back to street-level downtown New Bedford when he arrived in town: Books. Specifically, Subtext Bookshop, which filled a need in the city center left vacant by the legendary book shops of old, like Hutchinson’s, Saltmarshes and Baker Books.

Subtext Bookshop is located at 209 Union Street and shares space with the fantastic Gatlins Framing, owned by Hank Gatlin. Just not as much space these days, as both buisnesses have grown and prosepered in a short amount of time thanks to the dedication of Larry and Hank to their respective trades.

Larry Jaquith is a book dealer – and, as his biography below makes clear, a book lover. That’s why patrons have taken Subtext – and Larry – into their hearts here in New Bedford. You’ll find a carefully curated selection of New York Times’ best sellers, rare books of every genre and used books at Subtext Bookshop. All share one thing in common; they have been chosen with care by Larry himself.

Born in Cambridge’s Harvard Square, then moving to his Scottish ancestral home in Lexington, Massachusetts, Larry Jaquith became a book-lover early on. Trained with a degree in English literature and amassing a huge personal library of books and manuscripts, “what to do?” he wondered. Well, sell (or rather) re-present the authors efforts to others. Thus began Subtext Bookshop, three years ago, in downtown New Bedford. Mostly classics with a sprinkling of Times best sellers, Subtext represents many writers of fiction, non-fiction, history, art, nautical, and children’s literature.

From the beginning, Larry says he was “determined to seek out the best and offer each at a fair price in a comfortable setting. The fun part is listening to a customer’s expectation, looking for their request, then purchasing it and bringing it to them quickly.”

Subtext Bookshop prides itself in representing Spinner Publications as well as local authors (living and dead) such as Clement Daley Jr., Fredrick Douglass, Herman Melville, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Patricia Gomes, Robert Barboza, and Everett Hoagland.

“Besides the Willa Cathers, the Steinbecks, and the Picasso picture books, we are fortunate to offer sets of Jane Austen, two sets of Mark Twain’s autobiography, and Ulysess S. Grant’s Memoirs – signed by Grant, but written and edited by Twain,” Larry notes. (Twain, by the way, was self-published. He paid for the book and published it in 1885!) Subtext also has a first, signed edition of Twain’s A Tramp Abroad.

“And who knew that Ernest Hemingway wrote poetry?” asks Jaquith. He found out when he got his hands on a first edition 88 Poems, published in 1979. “Also, in later editions, we have a series of books by Eric Sloan, including a numbered, first edition, with slip-cased copy revealing his final work. In addition, we came across a Buckminster Fuller association copy of Intuition, dedicated to him by none other than Ezra Pound.”

Larry Jaquith traces his family lineage from a Scottlish family that sailed in a Dutch ship toward what is now Suriname, South America in 1641 then to Massachusetts, and says, “It has been quite a ride, including a fifteen-years return to Suriname studying and documenting the Maroon Culture…

“…and of course, collecting books.” Now available in New Bedford, Massachusetts on Union Street.

“This is going to be a fun journey,” Larry sums up.