John W. Graham & Co.

John W. Graham & Co was an American publisher, lithographer, book dealer, and store owner in Spokane, Washington. Graham was born in Indiana in 1860, and worked with his father trading up and down the Ohio River. He opened his first stationery business at age 10, working from a desk in the General Store of his hometown.

In 1888, Graham moved from Minneapolis to Spokane after reading about the many opportunities out west. He started at the local stationery shop of Sylvester Heath, but this burned to the ground in the great fire of the following year. Heath was too old to rebuild, so Graham seized the opportunity and set up a tent on the ashes of Heath’s old store, from which he started his own business. 

John W. Graham and Co. was the place in Spokane to buy books, magazines, stationery, art supplies, cameras, and film for almost a century. Graham died of a heart attack in June 1941, aged 81. The business continued for several decades until it was finally bought by Portland-based bookseller J.K. Gill Co. around 1980.

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