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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

LAUKHUFF'S BOOKSTORE

LAUKHUFF'S BOOKSTORE

LAUKHUFF'S BOOKSTORE was a leading source in Cleveland of books and other material relating to current movements in LITERATURE and the arts during the 1920s-1940s. Richard Laukhuff, a German immigrant, opened his bookstore in 1916 at 40 Taylor Arcade. The first years were rather slow, as Laukhuff, like other German merchants, was the object of the anti-German sentiment that prevailed following World War I. During the 1920s, the store grew in popularity as Cleveland experienced a cultural awakening. Appealing to a more liberal-minded clientele, Laukhuff's reading room was often the scene of informal gatherings of artists, writers, poets, newspapermen, and other members of Cleveland's bohemian community. Laukhuff's specialized in books that were either banned or unavailable in other Cleveland bookstores, including works by Jas. Joyce, Ezra Pound, Wm. Carlos Williams, HART CRANE, and Waldo Frank. Also featured were a variety of "little magazines" that kept abreast of current trends in literature. As a bookseller, Laukhuff also performed the various roles of moderator, patron, educator, and friend to his customers. He reportedly ordered people out of his shop for mistreating books and sent others elsewhere to buy "ordinary" books. From his regular customers he expected reports on previously purchased books that he himself had not read. As avant-garde movements in art and literature became more acceptable in the 1940s, Laukhuff's lost some of its original novelty. Laukhuff died 16 July 1957 at the age of 81; his wife, Hermine, ran the store until its closing a few years later in 1960.