Hanna, Frederick Freeth ('Fred') (1934–2011), bookseller, was born on 27 January 1934 in Dublin, only son of Walter Hanna and his wife Nancy Louise (née Freeth); he had two sisters. Fred's grandfather, also called Fred Hanna (d. 1941), started work in William Magee's long-established bookshop on Nassau Street, Dublin, becoming first the manager and then taking over the business in 1907 when Magee died. The bookshop was notably successful and employed several family members, including Walter Hanna, before the young Fred joined it in the early 1950s. It expanded into the next-door building in 1945, and also traded from premises on the quays.
The name 'Fred Hanna' would have been one of the most familiar names in Dublin, because of thousands of advertisements in the leading daily papers. For more than sixty years, the Hannas regularly placed classified notices seeking to buy second-hand books, and were also, probably ahead of competitors, aware of the value of general advertising and of sponsoring advertorial content in the newspapers. The annual schoolbook-buying rush to bookshops was a regular story in newspapers, and Fred Hanna's shop, a Dublin institution, was often featured.
Fred Hanna was educated at Aravon preparatory school, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and St Columba's College, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin. Having been involved with books and book-dealing from an early age, there was no question of his following any other career, and he started work in the shop aged 18. Dealing in antiquarian books was a particular interest, and he developed that side of the business. The bookshop sponsored a James Joyce international symposium, held in Dublin in 1977. Fred Hanna's knowledge of the market and of Irish antiquarian books in particular was widely acknowledged. Like all dealers, he had stories of treasured and profitable finds, as well as of 'those that got away'. He particularly regretted a fifteenth-century medical work that a colleague sold for £75 while Fred was on holiday; it later made £1,300.
The bookshop, on Nassau Street facing Trinity College, was well known for academic books and for its large stocks of general works. Hanna was almost always on hand to answer queries, and to keep staff on their toes. Despite his avuncular appearance, customers could not fail to realise that he had a keen business mind. The shop was one of the first Dublin businesses to introduce computers, in the 1980s, to control and order stock, and Hanna bought up leases on adjoining properties to expand. In 1995 Fred Hanna's was the first winner of the O'Brien Press bookseller award, in recognition of Hanna's support for Irish publishing, and in 1998, at the British Book Awards, Fred Hanna was the first Irish bookseller to win the independent bookseller of the year award.
By then, however, the business was under pressure from changes in book-buying habits and from competition from bigger UK-based chains. Hanna's made some changes to layout and display, but the large volumes of stock carried made it difficult to modernise adequately. In 1999, when he was 65, Hanna sold the business to long-time rivals, Eason's, who were particularly pleased to acquire the trading name, 'Fred Hanna', which for the Dublin book-buying public had been for so long synonymous with the pleasures of book discovery and acquisition.
Hanna married, in Howth, Co Dublin, on 22 April 1961, Valerie Thrift, a granddaughter of William Edward Thrift (qv) (d. 1942), provost of Trinity College. They had three daughters and a son. Hanna died in St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, on 2 June 2011. His relatively small personal book collection made €350,000 when sold at auction after his death.