About Us

Paragon Book Gallery has been the foremost source in the United States for books on Asia since 1948, when it was founded by Max and Rachel Faerber, both former residents of Shanghai. Max Faerber arrived in Shanghai in 1941 as a refugee from Vienna, where he had been a reporter for the Morgen Post. In 1942, during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, Max Faerber opened a bookshop, called Paragon, specializing in books in European languages. He met Rae, who was born and raised in Shanghai and knew everyone in the foreign community, in the shop, and they were married in 1945. The Faerbers came to New York from Shanghai in 1948 and opened Paragon Book Gallery on West 86th Street. The shop moved to East 38th Street where it remained for many years. Their background led the Faerbers to concentrate on books about Asia. Paragon Book Gallery was known as "The Oriental Book Store of America," for good reason. Catalogs from the 1960's and 1970's listed over 5,000 titles a catalog. The many old and rare books on Asia on the shelves were the particular interest of Max Faerber. Rae Faerber was famous for her encyclopedic knowledge of the inventory and her amazing memory for authors and titles. The shop was a gathering place for those interested in Asia, who were fascinated by the anecdotes Rae Faerber told about old Shanghai and her interesting circle of friends there. Max Faerber died in 1979, and the lease on 38th Street ran out in May 1984, so she decided to sell the shop to Roberta Huber and Linda Kramer, both of whom had a strong interest in Asia and wanted to retain Paragon's position as a unique source for books on Asia. In 1984, the shop moved to the mezzanine floor of the Beacon Hotel on Broadway and 75th Street, where both Rae Faerber and the in-house manager, Joe Abraham, who had been at Paragon Book Gallery since 1966 and had also left Shanghai in 1949, continued to be involved to assure a smooth transition.