Welcome to Boswell Book Company's website!

For our tenth year, we have a commemorative logo, featuring a very special toad playing the part of James Boswell. For those who like to know these things, James Boswell has been the face of a Milwaukee bookstore since 1973 and the children's book that inspired this illustration was the favorite of more than one generation of the Harry W. Schwartz family. We're honored to carry on the tradition of storefront bookselling in Milwaukee.

We bet you want to know where we are and how to get a hold of us. Our address is 2559 N Downer Ave, on the same block as the Downer Theatre, up the bluff from Lincoln Memorial Drive. We're north of Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital and south of UWM. We're about three miles northeast of downtown Milwaukee, located on the MCTS Gold Line.

Our phone is (414) 332-1181. If you like old phone trivia, 332 is the old EDgewood exchange. Our general email is info@boswellbooks.com. This is for special orders, upcoming event info, or other questions you may have. 

We're open 10 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. We're closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and have limited hours on several other holidays. In addition, we sometimes close early for ticketed in-store events.

Our site search engine is not as good as some of our well-financed online competitors, but it will do. One of the nice things we like to point out is that you can check inventory and even the subsection of the book, but be aware, the number does not take into account customer holds, receiving errors, and general misshelving. As we like to say, we just need one person to put a book back in the wrong place for it to be lost forever, or at least until we do our next section check. Our system allows you to put a book on hold without first registering an account. Try it.


Carson Vaughan, author of Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream, in conversation with Larry Waston
Monday, July 22, 7 pm, at Boswell

Journalist Carson Vaughan, a native Nebraskan, chats about his book with former Marquette Professor Larry Watson. Zoo Nebraska is the true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices.

Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one. The church, high school, and post office stand abandoned. But for nearly twenty years, there was a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy, which all began with one man.

When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Haskin returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.

Carson Vaughan is a freelance journalist from Nebraska whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and many other publications. Larry Watson is author of Montana 1948, As Good as Gone, and several other books. He taught writing and literature at UW-Stevens Point and Marquette University.


Michael Wert, author of Samurai: A Concise History
Tuesday, July 23, 7 pm, at Boswell

Marquette University Associate Professor of East Asian History Michael Wert brings to life the history of the samurai, both famed and ordinary, who shaped Japanese history.

The idea of the sword-wielding samurai, beholden to a strict ethical code and trained in deadly martial arts, dominates popular conceptions of the samurai. This legacy remains with us today in the legendary Akira Kurosawa films, the shoguns of HBO's Westworld, and countless renditions of samurai history in anime, manga, and video games. Acknowledging these common depictions, Wert introduces the real samurai as they lived, fought, and served.

The samurai controlled Japan from the fourteenth century until their demise in the mid-nineteenth century. On and off the battlefield, their story is one of adventures and intrigues, heroics and misdeeds, unlikely victories and devastating defeats. Wert traces the samurai throughout this history, exploring their roles in watershed events such as Japan's invasions of Korea at the close of the sixteenth century and the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. Wert illustrates accounts of the samurai and their commanding influence over politics, art, philosophy, and religion for centuries.

Michael Wert is Associate Professor of East Asian History at Marquette University. He is the author of Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan.


Wednesday, July 24, 7 pm, at Boswell

Former Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Charles Benjamin Schudson explores the decision-making process of judges, going behind the bench to hear judges forging appellate decisions about life and death, multimillion-dollar damages, and priceless civil rights.

With experience as both a trial and appellate judge, Schudson knows the burdens on judges. With engaging candor, he probes judicial minds analyzing actual trials and sentencings, of abortion protesters, murderers, sex predators, white supremacists, and others. Schudson exposes the financial, political, personal, and professional pressures that threaten judicial ethics and independence.

As political attacks on judges increase, Schudson calls for reforms to protect judicial independence and for vigilance to ensure justice for all. Independence Corrupted is invaluable for students and scholars, lawyers and judges, and all citizens concerned about the future of America's courts.

Charles Benjamin Schudson has appeared on PBS, NPR, and Oprah and before the National Association of State Judicial Educators, the United States Conference of Mayors, and the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is coauthor of On Trial: America’s Courts and Their Treatment of Sexually Abused Children.


Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher’s War
Thursday, July 25, 7 pm, at Boswell

The Madison-based and Wauwatosa-born author returns to Boswell to talk about the second book in his thrilling adventure series that began with The Philosopher’s Flight.

The Philosopher’s War is the electrifying next chapter in Robert Weekes’s story, filled with heroic, unconventional women, thrilling covert missions, romance and, of course, plenty of aerial adventures. As a rookie Rescue and Evacuation flier on the front lines of World War I in France, Weekes came to save lives, but has no idea how far he’ll have to go to win the war.

Kirkus Reviews calls it, “a fantastic example of worldbuilding on a grand scale that combines cinematic action with historical accuracy… The combat is incredibly tense, the palpable tension between characters is genuinely authentic, and the character arc that changes Weekes from an eager young soldier to a hardened veteran is truly compelling.” Associated Press says Miller’s latest, “grabs readers from its opening lines and doesn’t loosen its grip or lessen its hold all the way through.”

Tom Miller is author of The Philosopher’s Flight. He graduated from Harvard University, earned an MFA from Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh, and works as an ER doctor in Madison.


Friday, July 26, 7 pm, at Boswell

Peabody winner Veronica Rueckert, former host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time and now National Media Relations Specialist for University of Wisconsin-Madison, discusses how women can claim the power of their voices and what needs to change so they can be heard. This event will feature a musical introduction by Boswellian and instrumentalist Olivia Valenza and vocalist Amanda Schoofs.

Women’s voices aren’t being heard. From the Supreme Court to the classroom, women find themselves interrupted more often than their male counterparts. A 2015 Yale University study revealed that women executives who spoke more often than their peers were rated 14% less competent, while male executives who did the same thing enjoyed a 10% competency bump. The fault lies not with women, but in a culture that seeks to silence women’s voices.

Rueckert offers a substantive yet entertaining analysis of why most males and many females don’t grant women the power to speak and solutions for change. Positive, confident and supportive, this welcome and much need guide will help reshape the world and make it better for women and for everyone.

Veronica Rueckert is a Peabody Award-winning communications specialist. She was the host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s statewide news magazine Central Time and was a senior producer and contributor on the national program To the Best of Our Knowledge. Her essays have aired on NPR and PRI. She currently conducts media training and national media outreach at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Charles Springfield, author of The Less Is More Approach to Wine, in conversation with Vivian L King
Saturday, July 27, 6 pm, at Boswell

Spend a delicious evening with certified sommelier and wine educator Charles Springfield, who offers a digestible serving of wine education, sprinkled liberally with generous pinches of entertainment, that will take you a journey from the origins of wine thousands of years ago to the present day. Let us know you're coming for this grapey good evening - RSVP right here today!

When equipped with the proper information, wine lovers can feel confident and empowered to make decisions that are better suited for their own personal enjoyment - not what someone else tells them they should or should not like or drink. Springfield offers an ideal guide for anyone getting into wine for the first time or people who've worked with wine for some time and want to deepen their understanding.

Charles wants to make wine accessible, approachable and fun. He is part of a growing number of wine intellectuals and leaders of the new school in wine education throughout the United States that want to democratize wine for the enjoyment of the masses.

Charles Springfield teaches wine classes as well as hosting food and wine pairing events and private and corporate events and seminars. He is the producer and host of the web series Maneuvering Wine with Style.


Joey Grihalva, author of Milwaukee Jazz
Monday, July 29, 7 pm, at Boswell

Milwaukee music and cultural critic Joey Grihalva takes us on a jazz odyssey through his hometown, illuminating the histories and influence of local luminaries. This special evening will also feature songs performed by Milwaukee singer and author of the book’s foreword, Adekola Adedapo.

Milwaukee's jazz scene has forever stood in the shadow of Chicago's illustrious institution, but it stands strong. The Cream City has produced a wealth of talent, attracted top-notch transplants, and hosted legends like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holiday, and Wynton Marsalis.

From the heyday of the 1940s and 1950s to the renaissance of the 1970s, from the streets to the classrooms, grand ballrooms to outdoor festivals, from swing to bebop, smoky bars to dimly lit clubs like the Flame, Thelma's Back Door, and the Jazz Gallery, Grihalva chronicles how Milwaukee has been a hotbed of improvised music, providing a noteworthy contribution to the story of jazz in America.

Joey Grihalva is a Milwaukee writer whose work has appeared in Urban Milwaukee and Wisconsin Gazette, and he is a feature writer for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. A Milwaukee native, Grihalva holds degrees from University of Minnesota and Concordia University Montreal. Adekola Adedapo is a vocalist based in Milwaukee and Coordinator of Multicultural Programs at Alverno College.


Looking for more upcoming events? We've got several listed here and more on our upcoming events page. Please say hi next time you visit.