Frances Steloff was the daughter of a Russian immigrant and itinerant rabbi who, in an age of rising anti-Semitism, was one of the early Jewish settlers in Saratoga Springs. The large family lived in dire poverty.
After the death of her mother, Frances was “informally” adopted by a wealthy Boston couple. Having run away from her foster parents, she made her way to New York, worked in a Brooklyn department store selling corsets, before establishing a tiny bookshop in Midtown Manhattan. On her death, after eighty-one years in the business, she was revered as one of America’s most influential booksellers and bibliophiles. Founder of the Gotham Book Mart, she turned her establishment into a center for avant-garde literature. [Read more…] about Saratoga’s ‘Fanny the Flower Girl,’ Gotham Book Mart Founder