Going back to Bonnett’s
One of the regular haunts in Dayton, Ohio, for folks attending the old Pulpcon or PulpFest was just a few blocks down the street from the Convention Center. Bonnett’s Books first opened its doors on East 5th Avenue in 1939.
Seventy-six years later, Bonnett’s is still there (whereas PulpFest has moved about 70 miles east to Columbus).
I happened to be in Dayton recently and had a chance to swing by Bonnett’s. I’d visited it a couple of times during my only other Dayton trip, for Pulpcon 35 in 2006. And I had remembered a photo on its wall.
It was taken in 1941 at the same 5th Avenue location, but when Bonnett’s billed itself as “Ohio’s Largest Dealers in Back-Issue Magazines.” And, boy, did they have a selection of back-issue magazines.
Just look at those stacks of Spicy Mystery pulps on that center table. As well as the pulps along the walls. You wouldn’t have had to pay full cover price for them, either.
Kevin and Greg Bonnett, who own the store these days, gave me a copy of the photo. They had some printed out, and kept them in a folder by the cash register since getting a number of requests for them during the Pulpcon/PulpFest days.
(Their grandmother, Ruth Bonnett, is second from left in the photo, by the way. She and her husband, Hal Murray Bonnett, opened the store. Hal, as Kevin reminded me in an email, also wrote for the pulps — including Clues, Detective Fiction Weekly and Black Mask — during the 1930s.)
If you’re ever in the Dayton area, Bonnett’s is well worth a stop.
I did purchase a couple of pulps during my visit. The Dime Mystery Magazine that I picked up has a Bonnett’s stamp on the cover — that was the primary reason for that purchase.
In addition to posting it above, I’ve also added the Bonnett’s picture to ThePulp.Net’s growing gallery of pulp photos. This photo brings the total number of different photos in the gallery to 98.
If you haven’t explored the gallery recently, click on over for a trip back to a period in history when fiction magazines covered the newsstands.