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W.Whitman Books Aims to be the Cultural Mecca of Middleburgh.

Written By Editor on 12/19/21 | 12/19/21

David Guevara, owner of W. Whitman Books, inside his store. Photo Credit: Lomie Blum.

By Lomie Blum.

Middleburgh resident Doug Guevara opened W. Whitman Books, located in Middleburgh, four years ago with his late husband, David Chancey. The bookstore, which sells used books and antiques, has positioned itself as a cultural center, presenting concerts, art exhibits, and an accepting space for all.

Mr. Guevara, who grew up in Brooklyn, New York always had a love for literature even as a child. “I was collecting books at 12 years old. I was subscribing to the Book of the Month Club without my parents knowing it. They would always have promotions like ‘subscribe and get five books for free’ and I would always sign up and save up my allowance,” Guevara stated.

“I was a quiet and shy kid when I was growing up. I was never really into sports and always a  bit isolated. Books allowed me to escape to other worlds” he added.

Guevara attended St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens majoring in English Literature and subsequently attended City University of New York Law School where he graduated in 1990. 

“I always wanted to be an English teacher. As I went through [school], I encountered teachers  who had a strong influence on my life. I remember one teacher saying to me, ‘you have a strong moral center and you would be a great lawyer,’ and it set me on a different career path.”  

“Upon graduating law school, I was selected as a Legal Fellow with the Natural Resources Defense Council, in New York City, which exposed me to the practice of environmental law in various areas, such as clean water and clean air regulation. Once the fellowship ended, jobs in environmental law were scarce, so I began a career in legal publishing which eventually led to  legal conferencing,” Guevara said. 

“Prior to retiring in 2017, I held the position of  Senior Director of Continuing Legal Education at the New York State Bar Association in Albany, managing and coordinating their programs for the entire state,” he added.

Guevara and his husband moved to Schoharie county 13 years ago to raise their two infant sons. 

 “We wanted our two young boys to be raised outside of New York City.  The city was recovering in the aftermath of 9/11 so we decided to move Upstate. We lived in Jefferson for a while then moved to Middleburgh to take advantage of the school system,” We found the people of Middleburgh to be warm and welcoming. Guevara explained. 

“I always swore that I would never leave Brooklyn, but raising children changed all that.  I worked a half a block from the World Trade Center when it went down and that experience stuck in my mind,” he added. 

W. Whitman Books was part of Guevara and his husband, David Chancey’s retirement plan. Mr. Chancey passed away from ALS a year and a half after the store opened. 

The name of the bookstore originated from a love for American poet Walt Whitman.

 “He is a poet that I always admired. Whitman broke the mold of the traditional poetic structure of the time.  He used free verse and had a true sense of the universality of the American Experience. while breaking through gender barriers,” Guevara stated. 

Guevara is very passionate about poetry in general and has gained a huge Facebook following on W. Whitman Books’ page from posting a poem per day. “For the last three and a half years, I've been posting a poem every morning on the page, providing some background and a photograph of the poet. The posts have gradually picked up a steady following, not only from the surrounding region but nationally and internationally.  We currently stand at over 2,100 followers, Guevara said. 

“A number of customers have come into the store to tell me how the poems have helped changed their lives, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic” he added.

At the moment, Guevara is working on developing a multi-faceted website for the store where books can be ordered online and customers can participate in blogs and discussion groups. 

W. Whitman Books is more than just a bookstore, it’s also a place where music concerts and art exhibits are presented. The store’s Fall Acoustic Music Series presenting four singer/songwriters ended on December 5. 

“Our aim was always to be not just a bookstore, but a cultural center for Middleburgh, and the surrounding areas, where people can not only buy a book, but possibly enter into dialogues about literature and poetry. We’re planning a poetry workshop for next Spring and monthly acoustic concerts will resume next May which will hopefully be live-streamed to capture a wider audience. So that's the next phase here, having more interactive events  

W. Whitman Books is located at 304 Main St, Middleburgh, NY 12122.  Information regarding store hours and scheduled events can be accessed at the store’s Facebook page: or by calling 518-827-3377.

W. Whitman Books. Photo Credit: Lomie Blum.

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