Sandra L. Hoekstra’s store offers a fascinating glimpse into the past

Grand opening for antique and ephemera bookseller in Thomaston

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:30am

THOMASTON—This past weekend November 3-4, Thomaston welcomed a new addition to its Main Street boutiques and restaurants. Sandra L. Hoekstra Booksellers held a grand opening on both floors at the corner shop of 153 Main Street. Hoekstra, who lived in Texas for 32 years before moving to Maine last year, is an avid collector of antiquarian books, maps, prints and ephemera, and was still in the process of unpacking 30 boxes of inventory she’d brought back from all over the world.

“About 15 years ago, I got interested in selling books and prints and within a few years, that limited my interest down to small run prints,” she said. “Books, maps, and ephemera—anything temporary in life that’s not supposed to last beyond a particular event, say a playbills and paper dolls—these are things that people would normally throw out after its initial use. And these can be very rare. If there was a Broadway play in the 19th Century that closed fast and only three people saved their playbills after that play, then that playbill is truly rare thing to find.”

The comfortably lit store with the dark woodwork used to be the Country Home store.

“I think Thomaston is perfect for this place,” she said. “It’s not a high-traffic street like Rockland, but it’s more of a destination for people looking for specific books and prints.”

There is also plenty of parking out back.

The first floor of the bookshop had a nice flow with rare and antiquated books in various categories, such as gardening, science and geography with a burgeoning Maine authors section, including a rare signed copy of The King’s Henchmen by Edna St. Vincent Millay. “Look at her tiny handwriting,” Hoekstra said, opening the book. “It’s so interesting to see how she signed her name so small.” Speaking of small, her fascination with rare children’s titles can be found on multiple bookshelves with such treasures as Fun with Dick and Jane, The Story About Ping, and Jack and The Beanstalk.

The back of the store features more interesting 18th- and 19th-Century titles protected under glass.

The risers to the steps leading up to the second floor have been plastered with old maps every few steps. The top floor is set up much like a vintage record store or postcard show with boxes of curious prints and ephemera all protected in plastic.

“Upstairs is all paper—magazines, maps, travel guides and prints,” she explained.

Thomaston Café catered the Friday event with a table on each floor of crudites and cheese and crackers while many in the community grazed, sipped complimentary wine, and checked out the bookstore’s offerings.

Hoekstra, who still participates in bookselling shows, will be in Boston on the weekend of November 10-11, so the shop will be closed then. The bookstore will open Fridays and Saturday and by appointment.

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