June 10, 2004
The story of Elder’s Bookstore begins during the Great Depression. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Charles Elder launched into a risky venture, given the current economic climate. He started his little shop in downtown Nashville with really only two things going for him; a love of history and a love of books. Nearly 75 years later, Elder’s is in a different location, but it still sticks to those original founding factors. This quaint little bookshop is crammed full of books; on shelves, on tables, in every available nook and cranny. The general emphasis of Elder’s is history, but more so, Tennessee history. In addition, you will find a distinguished offering of Southern literature, as well as a wide array of nonfiction pertaining to the broader history and culture of the South. Indeed, Elder’s Bookstore has become quite well known for its specialties.
If you have no particular interest in the aforementioned subjects, don’t be dismayed. Like I said, there are over 50 thousand books in stock, so they’ve got something for everyone. Elder’s is where you go when you’ve given up looking for that out of print book you’ve just got to get your hands on. If they don’t have it, they also specialize in tracking down and ordering hard to find books. In the arena of early Tennessee and Nashville history, they have actually become the foremost re-publishers of books on those topics. That’s how seriously they take their business.
Elder’s Bookstore is one of a dying breed, though it seems to still be going strong. I must end this with a word of caution, however. People have been known to wander into this old-line establishment and not be heard from again for hours on end. I have fallen prey to this mysterious phenomenon on more than one occasion, dropping by for a quick purchase, and then later having to explain my extended disappearance. The place just sucks you in and it’s hard to escape.
From journal The Scoop On Nashville