Higginbothams Bookstore In Chennai – Old Postcard 1944
This is an old 1944 postcard Higginbothams Bookstore on Mount Road in Madras, now Chennai. The Higginbothams Bookstore is in the building in the foreground. Vintage cars of that period are parked in a row in front. Abel Joshua Higginbotham in 1844 founded the Higginbothams Bookstore in a tiny room on Mount Road.
He was born in Cannanore, now Kannur, a region of then Malabar under the British Presidency. Kannur is now a part of Kerala State. Abel’s father was in the army in Bangalore and died a year later after his birth. His mother too passed away when Abel was only 12 years old leaving him orphaned. Scottish missionaries brought him up in Kannur. After completing school, he took up a job as a seaman where he found life to be rough.
Unhappy he discarded his job, but details of his life in this interim period are not known much. He took up a job at a Christian bookstore and found to enjoy his work. Discovering he had a love for books, with a skill to talk about them. Abel also had a knack to search out rare and popular books from various places. The Christian bookstore folded up and gave Higginbotham the first preference to buy the complete stock.
He gladly accepted and shifted his new business to Mount Road in Madras. It is here that Abel opened a shop in a tiny room. But within a few years’ time with his gift of the gab and his tremendous skill in sourcing desirable books, he built up his business rapidly. Which enabled him financially to move out to this present location at Mount Road as shown in this postcard. Check out the beautiful motor cars of the period.
Did you know- Higginbothams opened in 1844 is today the oldest bookstore in India.