The 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest

Winners of the 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest: Nora Benedict (at left) and Isaac May (at front), with contest judge David Whitesell. (Photo courtesy of David Vander Meulen)

Winners of the 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest: Nora Benedict (at left) and Isaac May (at front), with one of the contest judges David Whitesell. (Photo courtesy of David Vander Meulen)

Since 1948 the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia has been pleased to sponsor a book collecting contest open to all U.Va. students. Originally held annually, and now biennially, the contest offers all students a chance to showcase their personal book collections, and to win substantial cash prizes as well. To enter, students submit a list of items in their collection along with a short essay describing its contents and their objectives in forming the collection. Judges consider collections on the basis of coherence of focus, method of collecting, progress made in creating the collection, and the quality of the explanation of the collection’s focus. Collections are not judged on dollar value or size. The first place winner receives a $500 cash prize and a $1,295 scholarship covering the entire tuition for a Rare Book School course; the winner is also eligible to enter this year’s National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. Prizes of $300 and $175 are awarded for second and third place respectively. This year ten local booksellers have also contributed gift certificates, which are distributed among the contest winners.

Selections from Nora Benedict's winning entry, "Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges."

Selections from Nora Benedict’s winning entry, “Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges.”

At the BSUVA’s annual meeting, held on March 18 in the Auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, winners of the 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest were announced. First prize was awarded to Nora Benedict, doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, for her entry, “Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges.” Isaac May, a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies, was awarded second prize for his entry, “Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications.”

Highlights from Isaac May's entry, "Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications"

Highlights from Isaac May’s entry, “Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications”

The Small Special Collections Library is pleased to partner with the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia in mounting an exhibition of highlights from the winners’ collections. The exhibition will remain on view in the first floor hallway leading to the Special Collections reading room through April 28.

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