Bob Emerson took flight this past August and I would be remiss in failing to note the event. After all, every satellite and Soyuz gets at least a nod. How then can a genuine star, rising in the heartland, be overlooked? Bob was a bookman of the old style who completed his run, living in an apartment over the Emerson-Hoffman Rare Bookstore, near to friends who adopted him some twenty years before.
He was first a bookseller of new and later old books who had a good eye and prodigious memory, and with his wife Lynn made a life in print that began in New York, middled in Connecticut and concluded in Columbus, O. In later life, his wife’s awareness worn thin by Alzheimer’s, he moved 600 miles west from Falls Village, Connecticut to the Buckeye State to live out his final chapter, to his last day perusing old titles and making notes. There, with the help of Ed and Tina Hoffman, he found a way to continue to be the bookman he had been for most of 60 years.
When the lights finally faded he had fueled his rocket towards evening with his everyday dose of two Manhattans and then, with rare books sitting near to hand, let loose the mortal connection. Recently there was much to-do about an asteroid in the neighborhood. Those of us who knew better knew Bob was passing by.
His long time friend Ed Hoffman, with whom Bob partnered in later life, prepared this notice for publication in the ABAA newsletter and we reprint it here:
ROBERT CAMPBELL EMERSON, 90
Longtime member Robert Campbell Emerson passed away, suddenly, at his home in Columbus, Ohio on August 8 of a stroke. Bob was preceded in death by his parents Lottie Campbell Emerson and Lynn K. Emerson; and by 3 of his 4 sisters: Mary, Margaret and Ruth. Bob is survived by his wife Dorothy who has been in long term care with Alzheimer's for many years and by his sister, Helen (Mrs. Joseph Barbano), who lives in Eustis, Florida.