Featured Exhibitor: Stefan Baer
After years of experience and work with his passions, Stefan Baer came to North America for new opportunities. He spent the majority of his younger years in Switzerland where he grew up, the same place where he held an apprenticeship and acted as a manager for a nearby bookstore. He loved being surrounded by stories and literature, but everything he did dealt with new books, things that were popular at the moment. When he finally came to America and started deciding what it was that he would do, he realized how different the role of a book seller in Switzerland was from the role of a book seller in America. He would have to start from scratch in order to get anywhere. Instead, he began finding jobs at local rare book stores, until he ended up at the ‘Complete Traveller’ where he spent 15 years working until he took over in 2015 as the new owner. Selling rare travel books was where Baer found his happy place.
For people who can’t always be traveling, these books are a way to keep each other connected through language, culture, history and the differences in our regions. He finds beauty in this concept of what he refers to as “an armchair traveler.”
Perhaps his favorite part of selling these books however, is the renditions of photographs found in each of them. The contrast is so extreme compared to the reproduced photos we have nowadays. In his own words, “in one picture you can see the whitest whites… and the darkest darks.”
Currently, Baer is located in Westport, Connecticut where he runs and operates his online book store. In 2001 he made the transition from selling new travel books to solely old ones. His specialty is in selling original and rare travel books the way they used to be made, small and red. He also has a collection of books published from A & C Black books in London, which he refers to as “coffee table books.” Another big thing he sells are WPA guides, travel guides that were made during the depression era. These guides were known for putting various authors back to work, which is why so many famous names can be seen on these travel guides in specific.
Baer will be participating at both the Northampton and Boston Fair, and if it hasn’t already sold, he’ll be bringing “Lake of Geneva” the rarest A & C Black book.
*Featured above is Egypt and the Sudan, a travel guide currently in Baer's online store.
*Featured to the left is The Lake of Geneva, the rarest A & C Black book currently found in Baer's online collection.
Written by Meghan Cenci - October 19th, 2022