News | September 29, 2011

Collegiate Book Collecting Contest Winners Announced

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America is delighted to announce the winners of the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest!

First Prize: Mitch Fraas, Duke University, Anglo-American Legal Printing 1702 to the Present

Second Prize: Maggie Murray, Johns Hopkins, Literature of the Little Review: In Which Margaret Anderson Enters an Antiquarian Bookstore

Third Prize: Sarah McCormick, University of California-Riverside, Desert Dreams: The History of California’s Coachella Valley

Essay Prize: Emily Brodman, Stanford University, Sourcing the Sanctuary Movement

After a two year hiatus, the contest was reinstated last year under the joint leadership of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, the Center for the Book, and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation.

Students who entered the contest were top prize winners of book collecting contests at their respective institutions.  Judges were once again impressed by the scope and genres represented among the collections.  Jean Kislak, a trustee of the Jay I. Kislak Foundation and lifelong collector, served as a member of the competition judging panel. “It was very exciting to see such a diverse array of book collections. These young collectors have shown such skill and creativity in assembling their outstanding collections.”

Mr. Fraas’ collection began when he was studying the legal history of the British Empire and became particularly interested in briefs from the King’s Privy Council.  After he serendipitously obtained a 1791 Privy Council brief from Bombay, he began actively pursuing Anglo-American appellate briefs and ephemeral legal printing.

Ms. Murray’s collection revolves around Margaret Anderson and the literature of The Little Review, but also includes works by “pioneering female literary figures” such as Aphra Behn and Gertrude Stein.  A highlight of her collection is a first edition copy of The Little Review Anthology signed by Anderson in 1953.

Ms. McCormick collects books, documents, and related items that focus on the history of the Coachella Valley and, more specifically, Indio, CA, where she was raised.  An area of concentration within Ms. McCormick’s collection is the date industry in the deserts of the Coachella Valley.

Ms. Brodman, essay prize winner, submitted a collection on the Sanctuary Movement.  In regard to assembling her collection, Ms. Brodman wrote:

I learned as much from the process of collecting as I did from the sources themselves, and now read archives and collections (their materials, their order and structure, and the materials or stories the lack) as closely and critically as I read the discrete sources that comprise them.

Prizes will be awarded to both the winning students and the libraries of the institutions from which they hail.  The awards ceremony will take place on October 21, 2011 at 5:30pm at the Library of Congress, West Dining Room, Madison Building, 6th floor and will include a lecture by Michael Dirda, a noted bibliophile and journalist. The lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies is an association of collecting organizations whose mission is to communicate, share, and support bibliocentric activities, experience, and ideas among member clubs for mutual benefit and pleasure.

In 1815, the Library of Congress acquired the personal library of Thomas Jefferson. Later collectors such as Lessing J. Rosenwald, John Boyd Thacher and Otto H. Vollbehr, among many others, conveyed their book collections to the Library, where they continue to be conserved by the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. More recently, the Library received the gift of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of rare books, manuscripts and other early American materials. Selections from the Kislak Collection are on view in the “Exploring the Early Americas” exhibition in the Thomas Jefferson Building, as well as online.

The Center for the Book was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the website.

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) is a trade association of over 450 demonstrated professionals who specialize in fine and rare books, maps, documents, autographs, illuminated manuscripts, ephemera, and prints that span the economic spectrum.  Our members are united in a passion for books and related material, and are bound by a Code of Ethics.  We sponsor three antiquarian book fairs each year.

For further information, please contact Susan Benne at or 212.944.8291, or visit our contest website at