James D. Forbes Collecting Prize 2017

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Do you love books? Photographs? Spend hours in bookstores and charity shops looking for the perfect addition to your collection? Or perhaps you’ve suddenly realised when moving that you’ve got more boxes of books than anything else? Tell us about your collection for the chance to win £500 and contribute a new acquisition to the University Library’s Special Collections.

The Special Collections Division of the University Library is delighted to be offering a prize of £500 to a student with a knack for collecting. The winner will also be given an allowance of £250 for the purchase of a book, manuscript or photograph for the University’s Special Collections.

Open to any registered student of the University of St Andrews in the academic year 2016-17, the collection may consist of books, printed ephemera, manuscripts or photographs, but should have a common theme. An annotated list of your collection along with a written explanation is all you need to enter.

James David Forbes (ALB-10-108)

The prize is offered in honour of James David Forbes (1809-1868), the eminent scientist and Principal of the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard at St Andrews, whose stellar library was presented to the University in 1929. The purpose of the prize is to encourage St Andrews students to build their own coherent collections of books and to promote interest in book collecting. Similar prizes have been established at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, and other prizes exist in England and North America.

The closing date for entries is 1 July 2017. Full details of the rules and application procedure can be found on the Special Collections Division’s website: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/library/specialcollections/news/studentprizeforbookcollecting/

Past winners of the J. D. Forbes Collecting Prize

2015 winner Dawn Hollis

In 2015, Dawn Hollis, a PhD student in History, was awarded the prize based on her collection of books on travel, exploration, and mountaineering. She cited her collection as a source of inspiration for her PhD dissertation on early modern mountains and mountain-climbing. Composed of primarily 20th century books, the collection reflected real use of the texts and interest in the content.

Selection of Dawn’s book collection on display

Dawn selected an 1848 manuscript poem by Hugh Hutchinson about the beauty of Kellie Law, a hill in the East Neuk of Fife, to add to St Andrews University Library’s Special Collections. This acquisition combines local landmarks and history with Dawn’s love of mountains.

Kellie Law manuscript (ms38981)

2016 winner Jenny Elwin

In 2016, Jenny Elwin, a 4th year undergraduate in English and Modern History, won not only the St Andrews J. D. Forbes Collecting Prize, but also the first Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association National Book Collecting Prize. The focus of her collection was children’s literature, 1880-1945, with an interest in original illustrated bindings and dustjackets.

Selection of books from Jenny’s collection of children’s literature

Jenny is currently working with the Rare Books Librarian to select the perfect item to add to the Children’s Book Collection in St Andrews University Library’s Special Collections.

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