Helene Hanff discovered Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch at the Philadelphia Public Library when she was 18. When she ran out of money and had to leave college, she took her education into her own hands.
She was impressed with his credentials and the simplicity and clarity of his writing. Reading ON THE ART OF WRITING, she says, "In the first chapter he threw so many marvelous quotes at me ... from Walton's ANGLER and Newman's IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY and Milton's PARADISE LOST ... that I rushed back to the library and brought home all three, determined to read them before going on to Q's second lecture." And so it went. From PARADISE LOST to the New Testament to ... ad infinitum.
When Q died, she felt as though she'd lost a friend. And sets out to buy the books he taught her to love. In the Out-of-Print books column of the Saturday Review, she found an ad: "Marks & Co., Antiquarian Bookseller, 84 Charing Cross Road, London." And so began her long correspondence and friendship with Frank Doel and the staff at Marks & Co.