During his lifetime, Paul Elder was known as much for his bookstores as for his books. His specialty, particularly in the early years, was ambience: a mixture of books and varied art objects that would tempt the eye at every turn. Clearly, Paul Elder believed that a book was worthy of the term “art object”, just as much as a painting or fine pottery vase.

Although there was only Paul Elder bookstore in San Francisco at any one time, it occupied six different locations over the firm’s 70-year history. There were also short-lived locations in Santa Barbara (two locations) and New York City. Here is a complete list: