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The mysterious European businessman who gave India its iconic railway book stalls

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Have you ever wonder by reading “A. H. Wheeler & Co.” on book stall at almost every railway station in India?
Then this article is for you. It started in 1877 at Allahabad railway station and having a great contribution in reading material distribution all over India. Really very interesting story, must read for book geeks.


At a time when booksellers everywhere appear a threatened breed, the life of Emile Edouard Moreau, who set up A H Wheeler and Co, the chain of railway bookstalls that endure to this day, appears as a fascinating example of a man with interests that spanned continents, and yet about whom there remains much that is mysterious. This story tries to piece the gaps in Moreau’s story, locating his life at the most interesting juncture in world history.

In 1877 (though the date is variously given as 1874), when he was a young man of around 20, Moreau set up what would be the first of the A H Wheeler bookstalls at the Allahabad railway station. The East Indian Railways, which had commenced operations from Calcutta northward in 1854, was then expanding its operations from Allahabad to north India. The line from Allahabad to Jabalpur had already been constructed…

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