The College Book Store and B & S Department Store

If you want an example of how the college and town were united–and tied to the wider world–this is one to remember. It begins with B & S Department Store, a one-time staple of Wake Forest’s historic downtown.

Sam and Reba Sidenberg began renting the building in 1932. They bought it in the early 1940s. Their business, B & S Department Store, occupied the lower level and the upstairs variously served as a lending library, photography studio, and beauty shop owned by Bonnie Baste. (This is the building where the frame shop and Domino’s Pizza are now located.)

The Sidenbergs were very involved in the life of the town, serving as volunteers with various civic and business organizations. They also regularly advertised in Wake Forest College publications including the Howler and the Old Gold & Black. Students and townsfolk alike shopped at B & S; it was a very popular store.

Recently the museum received a message (with photos) from Anna Caldwell Edwards (WFU ’95). Her grandfather, E.R. Caldwell, was the first in his family to attend college. He chose Wake Forest (WFC ’43), and while there he purchased this directory at the College Book Store… with a B & S advertisement front and center.

The College Book Store was located in the library on campus. Run by Everette Snyder (WFC ’27), it sold textbooks, publications, magazines, school supplies, and toiletries, and by the 1940s it sported a soda fountain that dispensed soft drinks and milkshakes.

The Book Store was another link between town and college. Snyder was an active member of both communities. But his work was primarily with the school. He appeared in the annual Howlers as a member of the college and, when Wake Forest College left for Winston-Salem, he sold the local inventory and moved his store to the new campus.

And this brings us back to E.R. Caldwell and the many ways Wake Forest touches the wider world. Caldwell graduated from Wake Forest’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1945 and worked as a doctor in Statesville. He also served as the Commanding Officer of the 312th Evacuation Hospital when called to active duty in Chu Lai, Vietnam in 1968-1969.

More than that… Dr. E.R. Caldwell’s three sons also attended Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray. E.R. Caldwell III is a pediatrician in Virginia, Stephen Caldwell is a hepatologist at the University of Virginia, and David Caldwell is a rheumatologist at Duke University Medical Center.

And it all began in the Town of Wake Forest…

(Many thanks to Anna Caldwell Edwards for providing photos and information about her grandfather.)


  1. As a teen, during Christmas season, the Sidenbergs hired me to do the gift wrapping.
    What fun that was for me. To see the gifts and then have an abundance of wrapping material was a joy. Reba taught me how to measure and position the box ion the paper to minimize paper usage. A clever trick that I have used . for years!

    1. What a very sweet memory! Sam and Reba’s daughter, Harrie Sidenberg Prince, once commented on a previous post here on our website. I hope she visits again and sees your kind words!

Leave a Reply