Save Heirloom Books

Tragedy struck the Heirloom community on August 7th with the sudden passing of Chelsea Carr Rectanus, its founder. Heirloom Books (6239 N. Clark, Chicago) was where she felt happiest and most at home. She spent her days tending it: receiving and shelving books, decorating in her inimitably cozy style, and organizing events, but also thoughtfully attending to and caring for her customers and many friends. Chelsea was a generous listener in a loquacious world; a beautiful, compassionate soul. We deeply mourn her loss.

This fundraiser aims to keep Chelsea's home--Heirloom Books--running, to maintain her vision for it far into the future. While we cannot get her back, we can work to continue her Heirloom as a legacy of which she would be proud.

Donations will be used to secure Heirlooms' future as a legacy to Chelsea and a community service to its neighborhood. We invite your financial contributions. There are many basic needs to manage from utilities to rent, to toilet paper and hand sanitizer. We also invite you to share this appeal far and wide on social media or otherwise. Used bookshops are rare treasures in our increasingly commercial world. Every little bit helps.

Heirloom is being run on an all-volunteer basis. It is managed day-to-day by Erik Graff and Erik Badger, with help from a host of others who loved Chelsea as we did. We are in regular contact with Chelsea's parents, without whose approval no significant decisions are taken.

Lastly, we invite you to visit, enjoy the atmosphere, browse our many books, and participate in the diverse and accepting community that Chelsea built. We are currently open Tuesday through Sunday Noon-7pm. 

Chelsea in front of Heirloom with her parents, Colleen & Earl


More on Chelsea and Heirloom Books:

- Announcement of Chelsea's passing by her father, Earl Rectanus
- Block Club Chicago article , August 2020
- Chicago Reader article , February 2018
- Literary Chicagoland article , September 2019
- Video Intro to Heirloom  by Andreas Brimmer, November 2019
- Heirloom Facebook page 
- Heirloom Instagram page
  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • C David Schweickart 
    • $200 
    • 5 mos
  • Patrick Briggs 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Marc Hoffman 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
See all


Erik Badger 
Chicago, IL