About Us

We have been buying and selling antiquarian books since 1971. Our book business resulted from Phil’s enthusiastic collecting of material about African Americans and Sub-Saharan Africa while he was a lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa.  Our book business was part time at best until 1973 and was initially just an effort to keep Phil’s collecting from swallowing our home.

After we decided to be full time booksellers, our interests expanded to include North Africa and the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Asia and the Pacific.

We joined the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 1976 and began exhibiting at the annual international book fairs sponsored by the ABAA in Boston, New York and Northern and Southern California as well as at numerous smaller regional fairs.

Our first foray into general antiquarian books was probably Sharon’s purchase of a Rebus puzzle lover’s collection of illustrated material.  We didn’t have room in our house for those illustrated items and initially tucked them away in basement space rented in a neighbor’s house where entrance was always an adventure because of their large, unfriendly dog.

Antiquarian books and customers seemed likely to be more plentiful on the East Coast than in Iowa so we moved to Hamden, Connecticut, in 1983 and rented the first of the five rooms in our current second floor office at 2348 Whitney Avenue in Hamden where we have always welcomed visitors by appointment. We continue to be members of the ABAA and ILAB and joined SNEAB (Southern New England Antiquarian Booksellers) when it changed its name and decided to include Connecticut booksellers. We continue to exhibit at ABAA fairs although we no longer exhibit at many regional fairs.

The passion for African Americana that led us to this business is undiminished.  We also continue to have a special interest in material on Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and North Africa and the Middle East.  While material on these four subjects will always be a major focus, we are now enthusiastic buyers of antiquarian books on a wide range of other subjects. We have also become much more appreciative of ephemera and other non-book material such as photo albums, manuscripts, documents, posters, prints, archives, etc.

We Buy Books

We are always interested in buying antiquarian books.  While we have always had a particular interest in African Americana, as well as Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we are keenly interested in buying collectible books and other paper material on a wide range of subjects. 

We are also interested in some old photographs, photo albums, manuscripts, documents, posters, prints, letters, pamphlets, and other paper items.  Please contact us before discarding such items. 

If you have an item or a collection that you would like to sell to us, we welcome contact by letter, email or telephone.  If you have a written description or an asking price for the item or collection that can be helpful but is certainly not required.  You can contact us by letter, email (books@mcblainbooks.com) or phone (203-281-0400).  You are welcome to bring material to the office by appointment.  We are willing to travel to look at material when that seems appropriate.