Stephen and Patricia Burnham started the Paper Merchant in 1981 in downtown St. Charles, IL. Influenced by Stephen's father, Joseph A. Burnham who had a lifelong career at Marshall Fields, the Paper Merchant carries a variety of merchandise, with stationery as its focus. In 1990 Stephen and Patricia were looking to expand and moved the business to the gothic style Loveday House on Third Street in Geneva.


The building was originally built in 1868 for Chicago attorney, Charles D.F. Smith as a summer home. Over the next 100 years, the building alternated between a residential and commercial space, most notably a hat and dress specialty store owned by Esther Dames in 1952. The gothic style building and beautiful corner property attracted Steve and Pat to the property in 1990. 

Stephen Ladd Burnham, the heart of the Paper Merchant, passed away on October 26, 2016. His business, legacy and memory live on with his family and the town of Geneva.  

Thank you to Brian DeWolf and the Geneva History Museum for the photos.