Philip Hofer Prize for Art and Book Collecting Winners Announced
April 27, 2006 - Harvard undergraduate student Michael Sanchez '07 has been awarded first prize in the Philip Hofer Prize for Art and Book Collecting for his essay and bibliography on Artifacts of the Avant-Garde. Sanchez, who began his collection of French avant-garde books, broadsides, and ephemera about seven years ago, says that adding to it generally involves going to Paris twice a year and looking around used bookstores. His collection boasts several first editions by Apollinaire and a selection of books by members of the Dadaist movement. Sanchez plans to visit Paris again this June.
Second prize went to philosophy graduate student Brendan Ritchie for his collection The Hidden Land of Prester John: A Collection of Ethiopica, which Ritchie began about five years ago. "My dad traveled around Africa a lot when he was a student," said Ritchie, who, inspired by his father’s travels and African music collection, has himself spent two months traveling in Ethiopia.
Graduate students Gustavo Turner and Michael R. Canfield tied for third prize. Turner, a doctoral student in the English department, was recognized for his collection Felinology, which consists of paperbacks published by Black Cat Press, an imprint of Grove Press from 1961 to the mid-80s that carried modern fiction classics from authors like Henry Miller and William Burroughs. Turner owns about 300 items that he found mainly in bookstores. According to Turner, these books have a distinctive binding, including the image of a black cat, which allows him to spot potential additions quickly.
Canfield, who was not present at the award reception, was honored for his entry The Elephant in the Living Room: Wild Animals in Stereographic Images 1896-1951.
The Hofer Prize is awarded jointly by the Houghton Library and the Harvard University Art Museums. It is given for thoughtful and organized collecting that shows purpose, consistency, and quality and that reflects the interest of the collector. The prize, which is awarded every other year, seeks to encourage and acknowledge students whose collection of books or works of art best demonstrate the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination exemplified by Philip Hofer, founder and first curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts in the Houghton Library and secretary of the Fogg Art Museum. Students submit an essay describing the scope, content, and goal of their collections and an annotated list of art works or bibliography of books.
The award was established by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. '52, L.L.B. '55.
William P. Stoneman, Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library, talks with second-place winner Brendan Ritchie about Ritchie's collection of Ethiopica.
Nancy Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College; third-place awardee Gustavo Turner; and Tom Horrocks, Associate Librarian for Collections at Houghton, discussed Turner's entry Felinology.