Book Collecting Contest Now Open

Mar 1, 2012

To foster the love of books, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign holds an annual book collecting contest. The competition includes separate judging and prizes for undergraduate (Fletcher Award) and graduate (Baldwin Prize) students.

The prize for undergraduate collectors is named for Harris Francis Fletcher (1892-1971), professor of English (1926-62), whose John Milton collection is a jewel of the University. The graduate prize honors T.W. Baldwin, who put together a remarkable collection of imprints from the age of Shakespeare, with strengths in Elizabethan drama, pedagogy, religion, and social history.

First prize for each category is $500. All entrants receive a one-year subscription to the Friends of the Library's Friendscript newsletter. Winners may be eligible for the national College Book Collecting Contest sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

To enter, each contestant must submit a document describing the collection, a list of five titles they would like to add, as well as a bibliography of the collection, with high points noted.

Entries may be dropped-off, campus-mailed or mailed to The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (346 Library, 1408 West Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801 (UI Mail code 522)), or e-mailed to the Public Programs Manager, Dennis Sears (dsears@illinois.edu). Deadline for entries is April 6, 2012.

The collection must be owned by the student. It should be based on some unifying principle, such as subject, a single author or group of authors, or place or genre of publication, type of book, bindings, etc. It may be on any subject and may include manuscripts, issues of periodicals, and graphics. Evaluation is based on motivation, discrimination and judgment, coherence of the collection, originality, accomplishment, and condition of the works entered.

Prizes are awarded at the regular May meeting of The No. 44 Society, the book collectors’ club of Urbana-Champaign, based in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Complete rules and information are available at www.library.illinois.edu/rbx/CollectingContest.htm.

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