Benjamin Muse Jr.

January 17, 1927July 15, 2012

Benjamin Muse Jr, book dealer, passed away in the early hours of July 15 2012 surrounded by his family. Born in Paris, France in 1927, Ben Muse was the son of Benjamin Muse, a diplomat from Virginia, and Beatriz de Regil Muse from Merida in Yucatan, Mexico. He was the devoted husband of Ruth MacEachern Muse (deceased). He leaves behind him Ben and Cathy Muse III, Mary B. Muse and Kevin Coughlin, Sarah J. and Robert Romano, Charles F. and Ellen Muse, Joanne K. and Ray Shaak, William C. and Margaret Muse, Eben J. and Eirian Muse, Rebecca and Joseph McGovern, and 32 grandchildren. Ben and his family arrived in America and settled at Petersburg, Virginia in 1934. He attended Linton Hall School in Bristow, Virginia, Portsmouth Priory in Portsmouth Rhode Island and St. Joseph’s High School in Petersburg. Ben began roller-skating while in Portsmouth Priory, and this was a passion of his throughout his life. He was a bronze medal skater and member of the Silver and Silverside Roller Clubs in 1945. At sixteen he joined the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service and remains a member of its lifeguard hall of fame. He joined the Navy in 1944 as a signalman and was assigned to LST 122 and later to LST 1060, delivering supplies up the Yangtse River. He entered Columbia University in 1949, where he met his wife and began his career as a book dealer. He and Ruth MacEachern were married in March 1950 and remained together until her death in 2006. While at Columbia, Ben scouted books for the Columbia University and other libraries. Ben and Ruth lived in Levittown from 1954 to 1957, then moved to South Dennis and established Parnassus Book Service. He established Parnassus Imprints to re-publish out-of-print books of local interest. He joined the United States Coast Guard reserves in 1958 and served for 23 years, rising to the rank of Lt Commander in the Hyannis Unit. He was the Chair of the Dennis Library Board in 1996 and was instrumental in the re-organisation and modernization of the Dennis library system. During the last years of his life, Ben was a resident of the Mayflower Residential Home in Hyannis. Ben Muse was a character. He was known for his humour and his decency. He was proud to have been once jokingly described in a Cape travel guide as “one of the three grumpy old men of Yarmouthport”, and they still talk of his pie-eating competition at Jacks Outback. He was proud of the Yucatecan heritage he inherited from his mother; he enjoyed any opportunity to speak Spanish and returned often to his beloved Merida. His knowledge of books was tremendous, his love for his family immense, and his generosity of spirit unbounded. He leaves Cape Cod, his friends and his family richer for his acquaintance. A memorial service will be held at the Doane, Beal & Ames Funeral Home in South Dennis on July 18th from 4-7. The funeral will be held at St. Pius X Church in South Yarmouth at 10:00 on July 19th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the South Dennis Free Public Library, PO Box 304, South Dennis, MA 02660.


  • Visitation Wednesday, July 18, 2012
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, July 19, 2012

Benjamin Muse Jr.

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Chris Kerr

October 5, 2012

Ben Muse was one of my favorite people. I met him late in his life. I am a freelance book sales representative and I called on him at his fabulous bookstore. He was huge fun to chat with. Conversations always followed a crazy-quilt pattern. He would review publisher catalogs, reminisce about previous books by the author or books on the same theme and loop the conversation back to stories of his days as a Manhattan book scout or his Navy days sailing up Chinese rivers. Condolences to Sarah, her siblings and their kids. We were blessed to have Ben in our lives; the world was a better place for his presence.

Pat Coughlin

July 19, 2012

Sarah.. Been thinking of you all today. Knowing you would present this great man at his last event in a loving and joyful way. He left all who touched him with so much. We were very blessed to have encountered him. Sincere sympathy for your loss is extended to you and yours. Will be in touch. Love Pat .

July 18, 2012

To all Ben's family-- I always loved to see Ben walk into the library because I knew he loved books and ideas as much as I do. He was a true Renaissance man, interested in everything, possessed of civility and humanity. And I hope for years to come to see his many wonderful children and grandchildren stop at the library, since they clearly are a special part of his legacy. The 'gingerbread library' celebrates his rich and worthwhile life. Anne Speyer

Dana G

July 18, 2012

My deepest sympathies to the Muse Family. I never got the chance to meet Bill's dad. I am sure he was an outstanding man as it reflects everyday through his son Bill, which I have the pleasure to work with.

Dana-Crane Appliance, East Falmouth, Ma

August and Jean Viekman

July 18, 2012

We treasure our memories of both of your parents as wonderful neighbors and friends. Ben's strength, practicality and gentle humor will be pleasant memories for us. We pray God's peace, grace and comfort for you.

July 18, 2012

To all the Muses....another member of the "Greatest Generation" leaves us but with fond memories...Ben eating pie in the lobby of the OYI ...his shorts signaling the start of summer, that old station wagon full of my wedding in his many memories but the best was the wonderful children he and your Mom brought into this thank you all for the memories...

Sincerely ...Kathleen Peros Lacasse

Cynthia Stead

July 18, 2012

On even the finest Morocco-bound book, the binding finally gives. But the pages remain, and the memories of all the readers. God bless Ben Muse, Bookman Extraordinaire, and my sympathy and condolences to his loving family.

July 18, 2012

My deepest sympathies to the family. I knew Ben from 1956 on and always found him to be a terrific person and great bookseller. His store has always been a must do for booksellers from all over the country. I will miss him very much. Michael Ginsberg, MG Books, 81 Gaslight Lane, North Easton,Ma.02356

Peter Masi

July 18, 2012

Farewell fellow bookseller! You ran a fine & interesting shop & will be sorely missed! I send my sincerest condolences to family & all who were close to Ben Muse! Peter L. Masi, Peter L. Masi - books, Montague, MA

gordon cronin

July 17, 2012

i met ben muse on several occasions and enjoyed it. he was an excellent bookseller. i also had a lengthy business contract with one of his sons, a very honest young man. my sincere sympathies to you all. gordon a. cronin