Essay Contests

The Harris Fletcher Award
&
The T.W. Baldwin Prize

To foster the use of primary sources and rare materials, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers two prizes each fall semester for the best research paper based on original sources from RBML. The prizes, which are co-sponsored by the Library's book collecting club, The No. 44 Society, include separate judging and prizes for undergraduate (Fletcher Award) and graduate (Baldwin Prize) student papers. Professors in any University department may nominate a student’s work. All submissions must be made by faculty (not by the students themselves).

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. The topic of the winning research paper need not be related to these collections. The award for each category is $500. All entrants also receive a one-year subscription to the Library's Friendscript newsletter, produced by the Friends of the University of Illinois Library.

The next contests will take place in the fall of 2014. Instructors should email or forward entries to Dennis Sears (dsears (at) illinois (dot) edu), The Rare Book & Manuscript Library's Public Programs Manager, 346 Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801, MC-522.