Business with friends

Who says you can’t mix work and pleasure?

Portrait of Bob Ritchie and David Cox at Dogtown Books December 1 2018 ©c ryan
Bob Ritchie and David Cox

If you missed the Dogtown Books Grand Re-Opening Celebration and sale, David Cox coverage is coming soon. New owners Caroline and Lucas worked wonders readying Dogtown Books. Do stop by!

“M” shelf snapshot –

Armistead Maupin anyone _detail from M shelf at Dogtown Book shop Gloucester MA_20181201_©c ryan.jpg

Bob and Andrea




The 4 Cape Ann public libraries announce the Cape Ann Reads jury panel

See the 2016 Cape Ann Reads selection panel  

After a year of monthly programming by the libraries and community partners, the Cape Ann Reads original picture book contest is in full swing and has moved into the jury processing stage. The contest is hosted by the 4 public libraries of Cape Ann. They will publish the first edition printing for one book from entries that were submitted by December 15, 2016. The jury selection panel includes representatives from each of the public libraries: Justine Vitale Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library; Carol Bender, Children’s and Teen Librarian,  Rockport Public Library; Kate Strong Stadt, Head of Youth Services, Manchester-By-The-Sea Public Library; Anne Cowman, Young Adult Librarian, Manchester-By-The-Sea Public Library; and April Wanner, Assistant Librarian at the TOHP Burnham Library, Essex. Joining these talented library participants are three artists and award winning children’s picture book authors and illustrators: Pat Lowery Collins; Giles Laroche; and Anna Vojtech.  Bob Ritchie proprietor of Dogtown Book Shop will provide another crucial area of book world expertise.  Cape Ann Reads is grateful for their time and considerable talents to help the participants and the process. A second jury of children will select their favorites and is chaired by Liza Browning from the Cape Ann Museum, a Cape Ann Reads partner.

About the Cape Ann creates for Cape Ann Reads Children’s Picture Book Contest:
The 4 public libraries hosted a one of a kind call for entry seeking new and original children’s picture books showcasing local artists and writers. 

Cape Ann residents of all ages, students attending school on Cape Ann, and people who work on Cape Ann were invited to create part or all of a picture book for consideration to be published, and to submit their entries by December 15th, 2016. A first edition printing of one of these submissions will be published in 2017 by the 4 public libraries and with the support of various sponsors. The copyright is timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of a Caldecott award for the children’s book, “Little House”, by Virginia Lee Burton, eminent Gloucester artist, author and illustrator.

Dogtown Book Shop

So far, I’ve reviewed second-hand stores that were either antique stores or thrift stores, all of which carried a variety of items, even if they had their areas of greater focus.  Here’s one of our stores that specializes in only one item: books!

_Dogtown books façadeBob Ritchie, the proprietor of Dogtown Books (132 Main St.), has stocked an incredible amount of books, “used and unusual”, as the sign says. He is selective – he tries to avoid cheap mass-distribution paperbacks, for example – but even so he has books representing a wide variety of genres, periods, etc.  See for yourself:

As with the vast majority of the people I have dealt with in these stores, Bob is also a really nice person (he let me take a photo of him with Flat Stanley for the child of friends of mine in New York…), and is very competent in his field.  He has helped me find some great books, and bought some from me to resell.

So if you love books, this is a great place to go to peruse the stacks and to look for treasures in print from the past or the present. And, if you have interesting books (in good condition) that you don’t need any more, bring them in, and maybe you can help keep the shelves stocked with quality content!  It’s just a couple of doors down from Main Street Arts and Antiques, so it’s easy to visit both stores without moving your car or walking too far.

His posted hours are Monday-Saturday, 10-6, summer Sundays 1-5, with the note that “actual hours may be sooner or later”.

Matthew Green

Previous posts in this series:

Second Glance
St. John’s Thrift Shop
The Sequined Fan
Junque & Disorderly
Cape Ann Thrift Shop
Main Street Arts and Antiques

And we’re not even half-way through my list of second-hand stores to review…

Shop Local Initiative

Dear Joey,

I thought you might want to hear about a funny coincidence and just one example of how GMG shop local initiative is impacting small businesses.

I found intriguing Paul Morrison’s recent review about the book Moby Duck, written by Donovan Hohn, and thought it would make a great gift for a friend. I placed an order at Toad Hall and stopped in yesterday afternoon to pick up my copy of Moby Duck.  While browsing the books at Toad Hall a woman coincidentally stopped in (Debbie I believe is here name) and asked if they had a copy of Moby Duck. She is a regular reader of GMG and had read about Moby Duck on GMG. Because Paul mentioned in his review that both Toad Hall and The Bookstore of Gloucester had been given a heads up about stocking Moby Duck, she was hoping Toad Hall had a copy. They did have a copy in stock and she purchased a book on the spot!

Shopping local is especially meaningful to booksellers. I know from speaking with my publisher and local booksellers that booksellers are having a very challenging time competing against mail order giants such as Amazon. Some people actually browse a book in a bookshop and then scan the bar code and purchase elsewhere. I am thankful that here on Cape Ann we have not one, but three book shops (including Dogtown Book Shop), and unlike many communities, we have a genuine Main Street. Thanks Joey for all that GMG is doing to help local Cape Ann businesses and artists!

Dogtown Book Shop Scarce Book on Jane Peterson

Here’s a very scarce book on artist Jane Peterson who painted in Gloucester in the early 20th century. The book is one of only 500 ever printed and they are each individually numbered inside.


A simple Google Search Of Jane Peterson Turns up many auctions in which her paintings sell for over $500,000 like this one-

From the Christie’s web site-


Lot Description

Jane Peterson (1876-1965)
Gloucester Harbor–Late Afternoon
signed ‘Jane Peterson’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
30¼ x 40 in. (76.8 x 101.6 cm.)

Lot Notes

During the first half of the twentieth century, one of the most socially acceptable venues for women to express their creativity was through participation in the male-dominated world of the fine arts. Jane Peterson, a fixture on the American art scene, had an unwavering devotion to her sense of self as an artist. She subsequently developed an Impressionist-Fauvist style that is uniquely her own. Peterson’s body of work encompasses scenes of gardens and beaches, colored umbrellas, and sun drenched port settings. Among the finest of her career, Gloucester Harbor exemplifies the artist’s frequent depiction of natural beauty using brilliant colors and active brushwork.
Peterson’s determination to be an artist began at a young age. When she was eighteen, she moved from Elgin, Illinois to New York and in 1896, she began her formal training at the Pratt Institute under the instruction of Arthur Wesley Dow. In 1901, Peterson studied with Frank DuMond at the Art Students League. Over the next decade Peterson held various teaching positions that brought her to Boston and Maryland. During this time she continued her studies at the Art Students League as well as with the leading European artists of the period such as Frank Brangwyn, Jacques-Emile Blance and Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida in Paris, Venice and Madrid. She also traveled extensively throughout North Africa visiting exotic locales such as Biskra, Algiers and Cairo.
Upon her return to the United States, Peterson continued her travels. After visiting the pacific Northwest with artist and friend Louis Comfort Tiffany, she frequented the various artist’s colonies that dotted the Massachusetts coast line including Gloucester and Martha’s Vineyard. Drawing inspiration from her travels both domestic and abroad, Peterson produced a diverse body of work that she exhibited at various institutions such as the Société des Artistes Francais, St. Botolph Club in Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
In Gloucester Harbor, Peterson employs grand brush strokes and an assertive line, creating a mosaic effect of highly expressive tones of blue, pink and yellow offset by pure whites. Peterson’s style had become very definitive and has been described by Jonathan J. Joseph: "Her linear construction directed a viewer along a definite course and did not allow the viewer’s attention to wander. Her tonal masses dominated lines and defined form, while subtle, thin oscillating lines emphasized form edges to better display the juxtapositioning of dark and light color areas. In some ways, Peterson’s paintings resemble cloisonné, in that color is often surrounded by a thin outlining of charcoal or contrasting paint much like the thin wires of cloisonné surround enamel. However, lines do not encompass or totally contain color areas, but combine in a grand decorative order and show control in carefreeness. The work of Peterson becomes a sensuous place in the commonplace movements of nature." (Jane Peterson: An American Artist, Boston, Massachusetts, 1981, p. 17)
Large canvases such as Gloucester Harbor emphasize Peterson’s bold and unique brushwork and present her skills at their best. The innovative stylistic elements found in Gloucester Harbor are the fundamental characteristics of Peterson’s painting style that achieved critical acclaim. One reviewer in 1917 noted, "Miss Jane Peterson uses strong colors and broad brush to give the facts about docks and fishing craft and harbours in a somewhat knock-you-down fashion." (as quoted in Jane Peterson: An American Artist, p. 32)
Johnathan Joseph has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Department Information

Dogtown Book Shop



As I wander through and say hey to Bob Ritchie at his Dogtown Book Shop in the heart of beautiful Downtown Gloucester I can’t help but wonder how one ever could walk away from such a labor of love.  It’s obvious Bob has a passion for books. The  shelves are stocked with hard to find,significant or interesting books.  I wonder how does someone value a business like this and turn it over to someone else when it’s an incredible amount of work and passion that went into building it?

Wouldn’t it have to be someone that took it over that would have that same kind of passion for the same type of material and is there someone out there that exists that could possibly put in one tenth of the passion to make the transition and keep the joint running?

I hope so, because places like the Dogtown Book Shop are real treasures to a community.

Where Zat Winner!

Joanne Silva was the first person to identify the location of this week’s photo as the Dog Bar (with a little help from the clue!). She wins a $25 gift certificate from the Dogtown Book Shop. Thanks, Bob! And congratulations, Joanne!

If you are a business owner and would like to donate a prize for Where Zat?, just let Joey or me know. It’s free advertising  and a lot of fun!

Watch for next week’s contest on Monday at noon! And remember if you have kids, visit my blog Flapping like a Haddock !

Where Zat? #8

Where Zat

Last week’s winner was Zanny from Maine. She received a gift certificate from the Black Swan. Congratulations again!

Zanny wrote,” …I knew taking the Short Cut through that cemetery and checking out every single headstone would pay off some day!   I’d like to thank My Mom, for telling me not to do that.  Mrs Leslie Harris, my 4th Grade Teacher, who taught all of us Essex Kids a very detailed History of Essex, Joey, for making a fun blog to check into every day, and my neighborhood kids, for thinking that John Wise’s Grave looks like Aslan’s Table…”

This week the prize is a $25 gift certificate from Bob Ritchie at the Dogtown Book Shop, 132 Main St. downtown.  All sorts of books…used and unusual. The shop reminds me of the old Magnolia Library. It’s very cool. Thank you, Bob!

Good luck  everyone!

Dogtown Book Shop’s New Awnings

Beautiful new awnings at Dogtown Book Shop and Menage Galleries.

The new awnings will protect the products they sell that can be damaged from the sun. They also fit right in with the style of the buildings that they face. Pretty soon signs will be erected over the awnings with the shop names on them.

When I stopped by to check the place out I noticed the floors in the old gal have been re-sanded and finished. It really brightened the place up.

Main Street is on the rise baby!

Dogtown Book Shop offers two coupons in the Where The Locals Go coupoin book which was sponsored by the Cape Ann Business Incubator and Sustainable Cape Ann.
The first coupon is for 30% off all books in the section of fiction. The second coupon is for 30% off all books in the section of Biography/Autobiography.
Dogtown Book Shop also offers fax and photocopying service, they can locate hard to find books , they carry new books of local interest, and out of print books. It’s yet another treasure in Gloucester’s Downtown!

Where The Locals Go