Fred Bass’ Bio, Wife & Children

Fred Bass

Fred Bass, known for being the owner of one of the world’s most famous bookstores, has passed at age 89.

Bass was the owner of New York City’s famed Strand Book Store, who is now ran by his daughter. Fred who turned his love of literature in the Strand Book Store, died of congestive heart failure on Wednesday morning.

Born June 28, 1928; he began working at what was then a little-known used bookstore on Fourth Ave. in the early 1940s at the age of 13. The store had been founded by his father Benjamin Bass in 1927.

Bass attended Brooklyn College and later fought in the Korean War before turning his passion for books into a full-time job.

Mr. Bass was drafted into the Army in 1950 and posted to West Germany. According to its website, following a tour of duty in the Armed Forces, Fred returned to the family business and took over its management in 1956. Soon after, he moved the store to its current location on Broadway at 12th Street.

By 1997, the Strand was the largest used book store in the world, famously boasting of its “18 miles of books.” Fred spent more than 70 years at the East Village literary haunt, managing the used book buying.

In addition to his daughter, Bass is survived by his wife Patricia.



Patricia Bass was born Patricia Miller in 1928. She became officially Mrs. Bass in 1952 after she and Fred Bass were married. At the time of their marriage, Fred was serving stateside in New Jersey.

Patricia Bass is also known as Pat Bass, she and Fred were married for 65-years.


Fred and Patricia Bass welcomed only one daughter during their decades-long-marriage, Nancy Bass –who was born in 1961.


Nancy has worked managing the store alongside her father for over 30-years. She began working at the Strand during her teenage years.

She went onto receive her MBA from the University of Wisconsin. Before working with her father, she worked at Exxon. After a few years she returned to the Strand. Nancy oversees the behind-the-scenes workings of the Strand Book Store.

She is also a married woman, and is fact a political spouse. In 2005, Nancy married Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden who is 12-years her senior. The two met while she was on a business trip, visiting an independent bookstore in Portland.

Ron Wyden is the son of award-winning non-fiction writer and publisher, Peter Wyden.

In October 2007, the Senator and Nancy welcomed their first children, twins Ava Rose and William Peter Wyden. In 2012, the couple welcomed their third child, a daughter. Ron is also the father of two grown children, Adam and Lilly Wyden –from his first marriage to Laurie Wyden.