During a long-weekend visit to Greenville, South Carolina, I visited the M. Judson bookstore on South Main Street. Like all independent bookstores I’ve come across, M. Judson has its own personality that comes through from the moment you walk in the store.
From the cashier counter made out of repurposed books to themed shelving, M. Judson clearly prioritizes creativity. This creativity follows you through the store as you meander from the quirky children’s section marked by chalkboard paint and a row of school chairs to the geographically themed shelves denoted by various maps.
M. Judson also appeals to those seeking quirky book gifts. My favorite find in the store were literary saint candles. You know those candles depicting various Catholic saints? What if you had one portraying Jane Austen? Well, M. Judson can supply you with such an item!
If you love typewriters, you’ll appreciate M. Judson’s commitment to their beauty. February may be International Typewriter Appreciation month, but at M. Judson typewriters are regularly adored. On a lovely reclaimed wood and metal table sat an old typewriter and various gifts celebrating the pre-digital writing tool.
M. Judson provides a variety of opportunities for residents and long-term visitors to engage the local book community. The store offers the usual thematic book clubs and author readings, but they also host unique events for children and those who love food with their literature.
Every Saturday morning the “Story on the steps” event series welcomes children to hear a new tale! It’s a great way to get the kids outside and interested in storytelling.
If you want to merge your culinary and book interests, the Sunday Sit-Down Suppers at M. Judson are for you! One Sunday a month, the store sets up a long table where you can enjoy a feature menu from a local restaurant and a book paired with the meal like a fine wine.
And for those who just want to wander in to peruse the shelves and flip through a book, M. Judson has space for that, too! The various, comfy couches found throughout the store let you relax and shop for a new literary gem. Or, if you’re hungry, the cafe allows you relax with a snack and a new title.
It’s no wonder why M. Judson markets itself a Greenville’s literary hub!
Namesake and Patron Saint
The bookstore also has an interesting story behind its name. M. Judson actually stands for Mary Camilla Judson, a Victorian-era principal of the Greenville Female College. Judson donated her life savings to build a library for the college and she founded a literary society. You can learn more about the store’s namesake on the “Meet Mary Judson” page.