Lamont Library

Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting

Photo of Visiting Committe Prize winners.

2014 Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting winners Gillian Manley, Debbie Onuoha and Wilder Wohns


The Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting was established in the spring of 1977 to recognize and encourage book collecting by undergraduates at Harvard. It is sponsored by the Members of the Board of Overseer's Committee to Visit the Harvard Library. The Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Research, Teaching and Learning coordinates the annual competition and is responsible for selecting the jury with noted bibliographic expertise from among Harvard College Library staff.

Eligible collections may be of any kind — author, subject, illustrators, etc. — and three prizes are given: the first prize is $3,000, the second $1,500, and the third $750.

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2014-15 Entry Rules

  1. The competition is open to undergraduates enrolled in Harvard College.
  2. To enter, each contestant first submits a written statement of intent to apply for the competition. The deadline for the statement is Friday, December 5, 2014. It should be sent via e-mail to Susan Fliss, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Research, Teaching and Learning, and include: (a) the name and class of the contestant; (b) a brief description of the subject or scope of the collection in one to three sentences; and (c) the contestant's phone number, e-email address, and mailing address.
  3. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 13, 2015. Each contestant must submit: (a) an essay of approximately 2,500 words describing the scope, contents, and goal of the collection, and (b) an annotated list or bibliography of approximately 30-50 items in the collection, selected to illustrate its nature.
  4. The judges may ask to examine the collection, or a representative part of it, and/or wish to speak with contestants about their collection. For this reason, the custom of making prize submissions under pseudonyms is not observed for this contest.
  5. To be eligible, collections must be personally owned and must have been formed by the contestant.
  6. Collections may be of any kind, whether they deal with authors, subjects, kinds of books, bindings, illustrations, printing processes and technology, etc. Collections may or may not be allied to the student's career or educational interests.
  7. The same collection cannot be submitted in the same year both to this competition and to the Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art. However, different collections may be submitted for the two prizes in the same year, or the same collection may be entered for the other prize in a different year.
  8. The first prize will be $3,000, the second $1,500, and the third $750. The judges reserve the right to divide the prize in other proportions if it seems appropriate, or to award no prizes if in their view no submissions warrant it.

Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting Winners Announced

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Past Visiting Committee Winners

2014 Winners

Gillian Manley

Gillian Manley

Debbie Onuoha

Debbie Onuoha

Wilder Wohns

Wilder Wohns

  • First place ($3000): Wilder Wohns,
    Blank on My Map: Unraveling Asia’s Mystique
  • Second place ($1500): Debbie Onuoha,
    Novels, Poetry, Plays and Short Stories Written About Africa
  • Third place ($750): Gillian Manley,
    My Collection of Canadian Novels or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Country

2013 Winners

Victoria Baena

Victoria Baena

Allison Gofman

Allison Gofman

Catherine Katz

Catherine Katz

  • First place ($1500): Catherine Katz,
    My Grandmother's Childhood Library: Collecting Early 20th Century
  • Second place ($1000): Allison Gofman,
    Tangible Flights of Imagination: Works of Science Fiction and Fantasy as Physical Objects
  • Third place ($750): Victoria Baena,
    An Innocent Abroad: Tales of the Foreigner

2012 Winners

William White  Caroline Weisman  Joanna Behrman
  • First place ($1500): William White, Designing, Developing, and Drawing: Architecture, Planning, and the City.
  • Second place ($1000): Caroline Weisman,
    Oscar Wilde: Down from a Pinnacle
  • Third place ($750): Joanna Behrman,
    Why I believe in Fairy Tales

2011 Winners

  • First place ($1500): Peter Bernard, Flowers in a Mirror: Izumi Kyōka and his Contexts
  • Second place ($1000): Alexander Konrad, Roots in Conflict: Family History and America’s Military Tradition
  • Third place ($750): Meghan Cleary, Woman and Her Body, Me and Mine and
    Samuel Milner, The Good Book Says, A Collection of Over Three Millennia of Jewish Culture, History and Thought
Peter Bernard  Alexander Konrad
Meghan Cleary  Samuel Miller

2010 Winners

John Sheffield  Adam Singerman
  • First place ($1500): Charles Santiago Palau, Remembering the Pathways of Immigrant Identity: From Catalunya, to Mexico, to Los Angeles
  • Second place ($1000): Zoey Orol, Transatlantic Novels of the Long 19th Century

2009 Winners

John Sheffield  Adam Singerman  Marykate Jasper
  • First place ($1500): John Sheffield, ¿Nunca Más? The Ideology of State Terrorism in Argentina
  • Second place ($1000): Adam Singerman, The Modern Mayan Languages of Guatemala
  • Third place ($750): Marykate Jasper, Robin Hood Revisited: A Collection of New Takes on an Old Outlaw

2008 Winners

Kate Ward, Brian Distelberg, and Loren Bienvenu
  • First place ($1500): Gregory Scruggs, The Francophone Collection
  • Second place ($1000): Trisha Pasricha, Finding P.G. Wodehouse: Catalytic Legacies of My Grandfather's India
  • Third place ($750): Ming Emily Vandenberg, Representative Works in Science and the History of Science

2007 Winner

 Robin Worth Reinert

2006 Winners

Harrison Greenbaum  Alexis Kusy
  • First place ($1000): Harrison Greenbaum, A Uniquely Portable Magic: A Collection of Treasures from the Conjuring Arts
  • Second place ($750): Alexis Kusy, The Peculiar Collection
  • Third place ($500): Michael Sanchez, Collecting the French Avant-Garde


2005 Winners

Kate Ward, Brian Distelberg, and Loren Bienvenu
  • First place ($1000): Loren Bienvenu, Shining Through the Ashes: A Collection of Beat Literature
  • First place ($1000): Brian Distelberg, “An Interesting Trio of Writers”: Books By and About Edward Everett Tanner III
  • Third place ($500): Kate Ward, Women’s Spaces and Social Safety: American Etiquette and Lifestyle Manuals, 1846 – Present


2004 Winners

Amy Lee, Matthew Gibson, and Adrien Finlav
  • First place ($1000): Matthew Gibson, Learning to Read Russia
  • Second place ($750): Adrien Finlay, Untitled essay and bibliography exploring materials about opera
  • Third place ($500): Amy Lee, Zines as Feminist Ephemera


2003 Winners

Roland Lamb, Phoebe Kosman, and Anna Harkley
  • First place ($1000): Phoebe Kosman, ‘To Arlie’: An Intergenerational Collection of Early 20th Century Boys’ Books
  • First place ($1000): Roland Lamb, A Personal Encounter with Philosophy
  • Third place ($500): Anna Harkey, Out of Thin Air: A Collection of Old Time Radio Books and Memorabilia


2002 Winners

Susan Long, Jura Pintar, and David M. Orenstein
  • First place ($1000): David M. Orenstein, Untitled essay and bibliography on China
  • Second place ($750): Jura Pintar, Praxis Philosophy and Book Collecting Practi(s)e: From Marxians to Martians?
  • Third place ($500): Susan Long, Untitled essay and bibliography on family-owned books


2001 Winners

  • First place ($500): Max Hirsh, Untitled essay and bibliography on the Berlin transportation system
  • Honorable Mention: Hourng Kaing, Unusual Females


David T. Horn

2000 Winners

  • First place ($500): David Timothy Horn, French Colonialism in the 1920's and 1930's
  • Second place ($400): David Mihalyfy, Autographed Books
  • Third place ($300): Shawn P. Saler, All I Needed to Know, I Learned from Comic Books: My Collection of Graphic Novels

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