Shop History

Founded in 1977 by Terry and Don Johanson, the Kelmscott Bookshop continues to attract customers with its nostalgic charm and vast collection of used and rare titles. Home to nearly 30,000 books in all subject areas from the late 1600's through today, the shop holds something of interest for everyone. Located in a historic row house, the Kelmscott was the first of a number of book stores to form Baltimore's Book Row on West 25th Street. Currently, it is the largest used and antiquarian bookstore in Baltimore and it is continuing to grow and improve with new renovations, new acquisitions, and new activities.

The name of the shop honors William Morris, an eminent designer and craftsman known for his commitment to the production of high quality handmade products for the common man. It was with these ideals that Morris founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891 and began designing and printing a collection of exquisite books, most notably the Kelmscott Chaucer. Today the Kelmscott Bookshop continues to celebrate its namesake by carrying many books relating to William Morris and his press.

The Kelmscott Bookshop is currently owned by Fran Durako, a bibliophile and a former chief information officer at a large DC law firm. She purchased the shop in 2003. Madeline With the change in ownership came a few notable additions to the shop including Madeline, the lovable cat. The shop is also now offering a variety of prints, illuminated manuscripts, note cards, book marks, and journals in addition to its impressive collection of books. The Kelmscott's book binding and restoration services continue to be available as well.

Within walking distance of the Kelmscott Bookshop there are several other notable bookstores including Royal Books and Johanson Rare Books. For more information on these stores, please visit our web links page.