Monday, September 12, 2011

Treasures found in a Used Book Store in Maine

Every time we drive along Route 1,  we try to squeeze in a trip to Harding’s Books in the town of Wells, Maine. There used to be at least a half dozen antique and used books stores along this part of Route 1, but there are only two left, the other one specializing in military history.  Hardings is bigger, and not only specializes in maps and prints, but has a fantastic selection of New England histories, including genealogies.  Their shelf of Edward Rowe Snow books is always full of some great titles, all now out of print, as well as many, many feet of local town histories and maritime history. 

There is something for everyone at Harding’s.  When we were there last week, there was a little girl about ten years old who was thrilled when her Dad told her she could have any book in the children’s section.  There were kids books from the 1800s up to Harry Potter and other current paperbacks.  My daughter and husband both found great maps, over 100 years old, showing some of their ancestral villages in Spain.  I always head over to the classics section, which has a lot of old favorites, including fine editions in slip covers, and some autographed books.  Its a great place for Christmas shopping, too!

My cat admiring our latest purchases from Hardings
If you are searching for genealogies, you can peruse the front room shelves or just ask at the front desk for the file drawer holding the 3” x 5” cards listing all the genealogies.  I always find something of interest in the drawer, and the staff can look up more on the computer.   If you aren't within driving distance of Wells, Maine there is even an “off line book search service” page on their website, so they can find books for you and email back the results.

From the Harding’s website “Family-owned and operated since 1960.  We are a 14 room bookstore in Wells, Maine, open to the public seven days a week from 9am to 5pm EST. We have an inventory of over 100,000 used, out-of-print and rare books in all categories, with particular strength in Americana, maritime, New England town histories, genealogy, and arts and antiques. We also carry a wide selection of maps and prints from the 16th through 19th centuries.  Looking for something not so rare?  We also have a large selection of paperbacks and hardcover modern fiction. We aim to have a little bit of everything in our inventory, so feel free to drop by to look for yourself, or to drop us a line if you are looking for something specific.”

According to the store policy, most books are returnable within 7 days, with the exception of genealogies and local history books.  Darn!  Those are exactly the books genealogists love, but then again, who would ever return them?

Douglas Harding Rare Books
3152 Post Road
Wells, Maine 04090
(207) 646-8785

Harding’s list of genealogy books online

DISCLAIMER -  I received no compensation or special consideration from Hardings Books for writing this blog post.  I'm just a big fan!

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo 


  1. I love those old book stores, we hava a few in the Pittsburgh area. I could spend a few hours in them.

  2. Well, I want your kitty! ^.^

    What a treat to have such a lovely used book store nearby. One of the things I always do here is check the library swap shelves and the thrift shop several times a week. Haven't found a used book store just yet...

  3. Heather - I loved your post. I've been going to Hardings for 30 years. It's awesome! Hubby always enjoys it too. Last visit, I bought an old bound photocopy of a genealogy book about Framingham, Mass. My favorite bookstore ever!!
    Diane Boumenot

  4. Sounds like I need to make a field trip there!

  5. Thanks for the nice comments, and yes, Marian it would make a great field trip, you can even bring your kids! Sorry, Wendy, kitty is my editor and won't be going anywhere else soon!

  6. My husband and I have a real weakness for places just like this one. (And of course, me reading this in the midst of my cleaning frenzy is like a dieter watching a commercial about delicious ice cream...)

  7. I've been at Hardings so many times. No trip to Ogunquit is complete without a stop there (if you are a genealogist).