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Paragon
Book Gallery
  1507 S. Michigan Ave.
  Chicago, IL 60605
  Toll Free:
  [800] 55.BOOKS
  Telephone:
  [312] 663.5155
  Facsimile:
  [312] 663.5177
  Contact Via Email

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 at his desk he 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.

Paragon Catalogue March 1949 However, by 1989, Paragon Book Gallery was for sale. Most of the inventory was sold off by 1990, leaving the name and the list of customers. Jeffrey Moy, a dealer in Asian art in Chicago since the late 1960's, was interested and agreed to purchase both in late 1990. Moy had been a student of Avery Brundage, whose collection is at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and his emphasis on Chinese bronzes, jades, ceramics, decorative arts as well as Japanese netsuke reflects this association. Moy added new staff and started up again in 1991, initially with his own personal library as most of the inventory was gone, and then proceeded to buy back as much of Paragon's stock as he could find. He subsequently purchased the entire inventory of Fong Plummer Books of San Francisco, and bought many private libraries, including the library of the late Penelope E. Mason, distinguished professor of Japanese art and author of "A History of Japanese Art", the library of the late Earl Morse, a renowned collector of Asian arts, and of other scholars and collectors. With a good selection of books and good service, gradually Paragon Book Gallery regained its reputation. Not only have many former customers returned, but a whole new group has been drawn in.

Paragon Catalogue Autumn 1969 The store in Chicago is conveniently located just south of downtown Chicago at 1507 South Michigan Avenue (South Michigan Avenue between 14th and 16th Street). It is about 5 minutes by car from the Art Institute of Chicago and about 10 minutes walk from the Field Museum of Natural History. The store is open Mondays through Fridays, except national holidays, from 9:30am - 5:30pm, Central time zone.