Celebrating Young Female Book Collectors

Submissions are open for the fifth annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize, which awards $1,000 to an outstanding book collection conceived and built by a young woman, aged 30 or younger, who lives anywhere in the United States.

Honey & Wax uses ‘women’ in its most expansive definition, one fully inclusive of non-binary, trans, and gender-non-conforming individuals.

Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize

The great American book collector Mary Hyde Eccles, the first woman elected to the Grolier Club, noted that a collector must have three things: resources, education, and freedom. Historically, she observed, “only a few women have had all three, but times are changing!”

The prize, founded in 2017 by Heather O’Donnell of Honey & Wax Booksellers and Rebecca Romney of Type Punch Matrix, seeks to celebrate female book collectors because they have gone unnoticed for so long. On the competition website, they write: “We observed that the women who regularly bought books from us were less likely to call themselves “collectors” than the men, even when those women had spent years passionately collecting books. And a quick online image search for “book collector” brought up page after page of older men. By creating a platform that celebrates and shares innovative collections created by young women, and providing a financial incentive to those collectors as they work, we aim to encourage a new generation of women collectors.”

The guidelines of the competition state that “the winning collection must have been started by the contestant, and all items in the collection must be owned by her. A collection may include books, manuscripts, and ephemera; it may be organized by theme, author, illustrator, publisher, printing technique, binding style, or another clearly articulated principle. The winning collection will be more than a reading list of favorite texts: it will be a coherent group of printed or manuscript items, creatively put together. Collections will not be judged on their size or their market value, but on their originality and their success in illuminating their chosen subjects.”

Graduate student Miriam Borden won last year with her collection Building a Nation of Little Readers: Twentieth-Century Yiddish Primers and Workbooks for Children.

See full requirements and apply here. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2021.

Source: Announcing the fifth annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize.

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