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Summit College Club Book Sale in 1970

by Ann Soper

The first Summit College Club Book Sale was in 1935. It was understood to be the first used book sale in New Jersey, and one of the first in the United States. It was such a success that the book sale became an annual event.

I joined SCC in the mid-1960s. About 1969, I was invited (with my toddler daughter in tow) to tea with the club’s current president, Mary Frances Highberg. She asked me to be co-Coordinator of the Book Sale in 1970.

I had never been to the Book Sale, so I spent many hours looking at the club’s old scrap books with newspaper clippings, taking notes. Luckily, I was in charge of everything except the books themselves.

The year before that, the Club had finally moved the Book Sale into its largest facility, which it used for the whole year. It was on Aubrey Street in Summit, an old factory building that has now been torn down to become one of Marco Polo’s parking lots. We had two floors, both holding tall bookshelves.

We collected and sorted books for the whole year. Members also picked up larger collections from people’s homes. A large category was the rare book section containing first editions, limited editions and out-of-print editions and many leather-bound sets.

The sale was held for two weeks in October. The second week all books were half price, except the rare books, and for the last few days, all books were 10 cents.

Since that first year, I have continued to volunteer as the Sale treasurer on and off until the present. It’s our signature event in the community, and volunteering is a great way to get to know other members and catch up with old friends. When I think of all the outstanding young women whose education we’ve supported with scholarships, I’m really proud to be a part of the Book Sale each year.

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