The Author’s Bookshelf: The Bass Family

Nancy Bass Wyden and her father, Fred Bass, co-own the Strand Book Store, founded in 1927 by Fred’s father, Benjamin Bass. Ben opened the Strand on Fourth Avenue, home of New York's legendary Book Row. Named after the famous publishing street in London, the Strand was one of 48 bookstores on Book Row, which started in the 1890s and ran from Union Square to Astor Place. Today, the Strand is the sole survivor.

Fred started working in his father’s store at the age of 13. After a tour of duty in the Armed Forces, Fred returned to the family business and took over its management in 1956. Soon after, he moved the store to its current location on Broadway at 12th Street. Fred sits at the main desk in the store, every day, managing the used book buying. On weekends, he visits estate sales where he peruses and purchases libraries for the store.

Nancy grew up in the Strand Book Store. Her first ‘job' at the age of 6, was sharpening pencils for the Strand staff. After receiving her MBA from the University of Wisconsin, she worked for a few years at Exxon, at her father’s suggestion. Books were in her blood, though, and she quickly returned to the Strand. Nancy now oversees the behind-the-scenes workings of the Strand Book Store.

In 2005, Nancy married Senator Ron Wyden (D.—Oregon) whom she met while on a business trip, visiting an independent bookstore in Portland. Coincidentally, Ron’s father was the award-winning non-fiction writer and publisher, Peter Wyden. In October 2007, the Senator and Nancy welcomed their first children, twins Ava Rose and William Peter Wyden.