Attention Students: Submit Your Essay to Win the 2016-2017 Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize
Are you an avid collector of books, manuscripts, or other materials found in libraries? If so, consider submitting an essay about your collection for a chance to win the Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize!
Endowed from the estate of Elmer Adler, who for many years encouraged the collecting of books by Princeton undergraduates, this prize is awarded annually to an undergraduate student, or students, who, in the opinion of a committee of judges, have shown the most thought and ingenuity in assembling a thematically coherent collection of books, manuscripts, or other material normally collected by libraries. Please note that the rarity or monetary value of the student’s collection is not as important as the creativity and persistence shown in collecting and the fidelity of the collection to the goals described in a personal essay.
The personal essay is about a collection owned by the student. It should describe the thematic or artifactual nature of the collection and discuss with some specificity the unifying characteristics that have prompted the student to think of certain items as a collection. It should also convey a strong sense of the student’s motivations for collecting and what their particular collection means to them personally. The history of the collection, including collecting goals, acquisition methods, and milestones are of particular interest, as is a critical look at how the goals may have evolved over time and an outlook on the future development of the collection. Essays are judged in equal measures on the strength of the collection and the strength of the writing.
Winners will receive their prizes at the annual winter dinner of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, which they are expected to attend. The first-prize essay has the honor of representing Princeton University in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest organized by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Please note that per the ABAA’s contest rules, the winning essay will be entered exactly as submitted to the Adler Prize contest, without possibility of revision. In addition, the first-prize winner will have the opportunity to have his or her essay featured in a Library-affiliated publication.
First prize: $2000
Second prize: $1500
Third prize: $1000
The deadline for submission is Tuesday, November 29, 2016. Essays should be submitted via e-mail, in a Microsoft Word attachment, to Faith Charlton: firstname.lastname@example.org. They should be between 9-10 pages long, 12pt, double-spaced, with a 1-inch margin, and include a separate cover sheet with your name, class year, residential address, email address, and phone number. In addition to the essay, each entry should include a selected bibliography of no more than 3 pages detailing the items in the collection. Please note that essays submitted in file formats other than Microsoft Word, submitted without cover sheet, or submitted without a bibliography will not be forwarded to the judges. For inquiries, please contact Faith Charlton, email@example.com.
Recent Adler Prize Winning Essays:
Samantha Flitter, ’16. “The Sand and the Sea: An Age of Sail in Rural New Mexico.”
Recipient of the 2016 National Collegiate Book Collection Contest Essay Award.
Anna Leader ’18. “‘Like a Thunderstorm’; A Shelved Story of Love and Literature” Princeton University Library Chronicle 76:3 (spring)
Rory Fitzpatrick ‘16. “The Search for the Shape of the Universe, One Book at a Time.” PULC 75:3 (spring)
Natasha Japanwala ’14. “Conversation Among the Ruins: Collecting Books By and About Sylvia Plath.” PULC 74:2 (winter)
Mary Thierry ’12. “Mirror, Mirror: American Daguerrean Portraits.” PULC 73:3 (spring)
New finding aids include the following:
Consists mostly of correspondence along with some financial records, legal documents, such as deeds and land indentures, ephemera, and photographs dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries that relate to Chester W. Burton, a farmer from Chautauqua County, New York, and his family. Among other topics, the collection documents aspects of the Civil War and early settlement and gold mining in the west.
Consists of several anti-slavery letters and circulars, dating from 1838 to 1845, to New Hampshire state legislator and abolitionist, General Daniel Hoit (1778-1859).
Dating circa 1610, this manuscript contains various literary works, most of which are written in a single hand, that are primarily satirical in nature. It includes epigrams with titles such as “To a redhead,” “To a ladle,” a hunchback, a coward, a poor, a stutterer, etc.; a satire on Cardinal Du Perron; an allegory in 12 stanzas of 8 verses, entitled “Le temps qui parle aux Dames”; as well as several other poems. Also included are lines from Pierre de L’Estoile’s Registres journaux des règnes de Henri IV concerning Gabrielle d’Estrees, Duchess of Beaufort, though some of the text varies.
Consists of 19 letters from contemporary authors and friends of 19th century American poet and novelist George Parsons Lathrop, as well as one unrelated, unidentified letter. The letters to Lathrop (where dated) are from April 22, 1879 through March 17, 1893 and concern a myriad of personal and literary matters.
Consists of correspondence and a few related writings documenting the work of attorney James L. Stanton as Chief Pardon Clerk (1882-1884) and General Agent (1884-1885) under Attorney General Benjamin Harris Brewster in the United States Department of Justice during the administration of President Chester A. Arthur. Among the many cases and events the letters document are those surrounding the Star Routes scandal, which involved fraud by United States postal officials. Frequent correspondents include Benjamin Harris Brewster, Brewster Cameron, and William Haight.
Consists of fourteen letters (1941-1946) from American war correspondent, journalist, and novelist, Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998), largely written during the years she was married to Ernest Hemingway, addressed to George Brown (“Flash”), who was Gellhorn and Hemingway’s personal trainer, tennis partner, and friend. Written primarily from Finca Vigía, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, and Sun Valley, Idaho, Gellhorn’s letters are intimate and often humorous in nature with regards to the couple’s physical condition and eating and drinking habits and paint a broad picture of Gellhorn and Hemingway’s domestic life together, recreation activities, and travels.
Consists of a collection of letters, accounts, land registers, and other documents from the office of Sir John Orde as governor of Dominica from 1783 to 1793, during a period of British colonial rule over the island; lists of enslaved workers on the estates of Peter Campbell, Esq., plantation owner in the parishes of Saint Elizabeth, Westmoreland, and Hanover, Jamaica, in 1817, 1820, 1823, and 1825; as well as some personal correspondence and documents of Sir John Orde, including letters to his wife and incoming letters during his naval service, household accounts, and various land and property documents.
Manuscript appraisal of the Elizabeth Anne plantation estate on Leguan Island in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara region of colonial British Guiana (now the independent nation of Guyana), dated January 1st, 1818, assigning monetary value to the enslaved workers, land, buildings, and livestock owned by Robert Gordon, Esq., British colonial governor of Berbice from 1810 to 1814, as requested by his executors, Thomas Frankland and Alexander Fullerton, following his death.
Dating circa 1450-1475, this manuscript from Germany (Cologne) includes a narrative of the life of and prayers to St. Mary of Egypt.
New finding aids include the following:
The Anscombe Society is a student organization founded at Princeton University in 2005 with the stated mission to affirm the importance family, marriage, and a proper understanding for the role of sex and sexuality. The Anscombe Society Records document the organization’s first decade of activities, especially the group’s proposed Center for Abstinence and Chastity.
Bernardino Ciarpaglini, an Italian physician and experimental anatomist, kept this volume of various prescriptions, recipes, remedies, advice, and spells in Tuscany from around 1680 to 1730.
Detailed diary dating from January 1, 1831 to June 12, 1834, of an officer on the British ship Alfred documenting travels in the Mediterranean and Middle East, specifically Greece, Turkey, Malta, Egypt, and Palestine, among other places. Includes some newspaper clippings.
The Dillon Gym Library was housed in Dillon Gym, which opened in 1947. Dillon Gym is now mainly used as the headquarters for the Campus Recreation program, and includes various administrative and varsity athletic coaches’ offices. The majority of the collection is made up of published material such as athletic handbooks, rule guides and technique charts; athletic organization convention and conference reports; and university publications (sports schedules and programs, admissions material, faculty, staff, and alumni guides and fundraising publications). The collection contains several areas of focus—notably, material on women’s sports at Princeton.
Dating from 1598-1630, this manuscript contains approximately 77 official letters, edicts, speeches, verse epitaphs and epigrams, satirical poems, and other texts and documents in French, Latin, and Spanish (Castilian), many of which relate to French history and politics from the reigns of Kings Henry II to Louis XIII of France.
George Nicholson (1937-2015) was a literary agent for children’s and young adult books at Sterling Lord Literistic from 1995 to 2015. The collection consists of his Sterling Lord Literistic office files on the authors and illustrators with whom he worked, such as Tony Abbott, Betsy Byars, Lois Duncan, Patricia Reilly Giff, Alice Provensen, Peter Lerangis, and Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and the literary estates he managed, including those of Don Freeman, Hardie Gramatky, and Lois Lenski. Author files include correspondence and email printouts, as well as copies of contracts and agreements, royalties statements, book jacket proofs, promotional materials, drafts and proofs of book manuscripts, and photocopies and mock-ups of books.
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (20 October 1784-18 October 1865) was a British statesman who served twice as prime minister in the mid-19th century, from 1855 to 1858 and 1859 to 1865. The collection consists of 15 letters, dating from August 1836 to January 1837 from Palmerston to his putative daughter Emily Ashley-Cooper, Countess of Shaftesbury, referred to in the letters as “Mrs. Ashley,” along with a portrait engraving of Maria Ann Ashley-Cooper.
Diary, dating from September 15 to November 23, 1868, of Englishman J. W. Beckley that documents his trip to Kansas to visit siblings who had emigrated there. The first volume mostly records his trip west; the second volume is largely devoted to an excursion billed as “a buffalo hunt on the immense plains of Kansas & Colourado where the Indian now roams, defiantly bidding civilization to advance.”
Educational manuscript, dated December 9, 1807, written by John Spencer Cobbold (1768-1837), a country clergyman and published author, and billed as “A Chart of English History, designed principally for Young Persons by the Revd. Spencer Cobbold M.A. Late Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.” The manuscript, written in ink and colors in a large copperplate hand, contains a comprehensive scheme of English history, from Julius Caesar and Cassivellaunus in 54 BC through to George III in 1807. Each of the major historical rulers is highlighted in a colored circle, some of which are very decorative, with the colors changing as the royal house changes. The work complements a similar “Chart of Sacred History” designed by Cobbold.
Louis de France, le Grand Dauphin’s copy of an unpublished manuscript circa 1700 by French physicist and mathematician Joseph Sauveur that describes the field of mechanics around the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The manuscript, in framed calligraphy text, is divided into five parts: The motion of bodies without springs; From the motion of heavy bodies; Clean machines communicate or stop the movement; From the movement of body fluids; and Springs, ropes and friction. It is illustrated with 32 folding, colored plates in pen and watercolor.
Kōnstantinos Stamatēs (1764-1817) was a Greek patriot and secret agent working for the French government and for Michael Soutzo, the Prince of Wallachia and Moldavia, during the French Revolution. The collection consists of one hundred and ninety-eight letters from Stamatēs to Panagiōtēs Kodrikas (1762-1827), then secretary to Soutzo. Letters are primarily in Greek and are addressed from Paris (November 25, 1788 – 11 September 1793), Rouen (September 17, 1793), Le Havre-de-Grâce (September 30, 1793), Hamburg (October 15, 1793 – February 22, 1794), and Altona (March 1 – December 27, 1794).
Arlene B. Gamio Cuervo is an undergraduate student in the Princeton Class of 2018. This collection contains applications, support letters, and planning documents created and used by Arlene B. Gamio Cuervo ‘2018 during the spring semester of 2016 in their proposal for an independent concentration in Latinx Studies.
The Office of the Vice President for Campus Life is an administrative office at Princeton University responsible for enriching the student experience for the University’s undergraduate and graduate students. The Office of the Vice President for Campus Life Records contain internal emails, reports, minutes, spreadsheets, and other office files that document the activities of the office from its inception in the early 21st century and through its first decade and a half of existence.
Includes 2 Russian Orthodox tropers and 2 quadriptychs dating from the 18th-19th centuries.
Diary of career Army officer, physician, author, and botanist Valery Havard (1846-1927) dating from 1871 to 1877 that includes documentation of his time at Camp Grant, Arizona, caring for Apache Indians.
New additions to existing collections were added to the following finding aids:
Series 5: September 2015 Accession of Research Materials and Photographs, 1950-2012, is predominantly composed of notes, articles and papers, interview transcripts, correspondence, and audiovisual media that were created or collected by Oberdorfer for various writing projects. Most of the materials pertain to Oberdorfer’s biography of Senator Mike Mansfield or to Oberdorfer’s interest in Korea, including some materials specifically related to his book The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History. Other topics documented in the research materials include the Vietnam War (particularly the Tet Offensive), Japan, U.S.-Soviet foreign policy, and Richard Nixon’s administration. To a lesser extent, this series includes photographs featuring or taken by Oberdorfer. Most of the photographs are from Oberdorfer’s travels abroad post-retirement, especially in Asia.
The 2016 Addition, 1901-1933, is mostly composed of correspondence to and from Jessie Wilson Sayre, before and after her marriage. Other materials include news clippings and other printed materials about Jessie Wilson Sayre, mostly related to her wedding, and writings by Wilson Sayre, such as her notes for speeches, some short fiction, and a reprint of an article she wrote for Good Housekeeping Magazine. The 2016 Addition also contains her school materials, including notebooks that are mostly undated but are likely from her time at the Woman’s College of Baltimore. Of particular note is an unpublished memoir about Jessie Wilson Sayre written by Mary Holt, a cousin of Wilson Sayre’s mother, Ellen Axson Wilson.
A recent addition to this open collection of manuscript material related to print collections of Leonard L. Milberg (Princeton Class of 1953) is a Harby family register, consisting of 18 manuscript pages in a variety of hands, tracing eight generations of the extended Harby family of South Carolina from 1827 to 1930. The register documents the history of a Jewish family living in the American South during the 19th and early 20th century.
This assembled collection consists of materials related to the Stockton family of Princeton, New Jersey, ranging from a 1701 deed to notes on Nassau Inn written in 1942. A recent addition comprises a highly detailed 28-page account of the estate of Dr. Ebenezer Stockton, beginning after his death in 1837 and continuing until 1856.
This collection consists of miscellaneous source material–letters, documents, and other separate, unbound manuscript items–pertaining to the history of the American West and Southwest acquired by the Library beginning in 2013. A recent addition includes the diary of G. A. Thomas concerning the California Gold Rush and a few related photographs dating from 1850 to 1851.
Two 18th-century Russian volumes of the Four Gospels in Church Slavic, with prefatory texts and tables. This collection forms part of the Robert Garrett Collection (C0744).
Some recent additions to this collection of modern English and American literary manuscript materials include: an autograph letter from Whitelocke Bulstrode (1650-1724), an alchemist, religious writer, Whig lawyer and administrator, and anti-Jacobite author under the pseudonym “Philalethes,” in London, to his son, Richard Bulstrode, in Littleton, Middlesex (November 16, 1724); a seven-page autograph letter, partly in verse, from Bristol clergyman, poet, and hymnist Thomas Grinfield at Clifton (near Bristol) to his former Winkfield classmate Thomas De Quincey praising the publication of De Quincey’s article on Landor in Tait’s Magazine (February 4, 1847); and a couple of manuscripts by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), including “A note on Charlotte Brontë” (circa 1876), and manuscripts relating to Christopher Marlowe (circa 1881-1908).
Consisting of files of American antiquarian book dealer J. Howard Woolmer’s correspondence with various poets and writers, recent additions include correspondence with Peter Fallon (1996-2007), Dermot Bolger (2003-2008), and Seamus Heaney (2009).
A recent addition to this collection of over 5,000 photographs, consisting mostly of documentary photographs of the Trans-Mississippi West from the late 1860s to early 1900s, includes an 1886 photograph by C. S. Fly of Apache chiefs Géronimo and Naiche during the surrender negotiations before they were imprisoned at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida (Géronimo’s son is also depicted).
Congratulations to recent alum, Samantha Yosim (nee Flitter), Class of 2016, who became the first Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize winner to receive an award in the National Collegiate Book Collection Contest. Sponsored by The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Grolier Club, and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division, the contest, which recognizes outstanding book collecting efforts by college and university students, includes the essays of the top prize-winners of officially sanctioned American collegiate book collecting contests across the country.
This past Spring, Yosim was awarded first prize in Princeton’s Rare Books and Special Collections Library-sponsored Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize for her essay, “The Sand and the Sea: An Age of Sail in Rural New Mexico,” in which she discussed her collection of books on British maritime history and the Age of Sail that, as she explained, allows her to “experience another world as viscerally as if it were my own.”
The Adler Prize is awarded annually to an undergraduate student, or students, who, in the opinion of a committee of judges, have shown the most thought and ingenuity in assembling a thematically coherent collection of books, manuscripts, or other material normally collected by libraries as outlined in a personal essay.
Please join us for Wild Lives: Catesby, Audubon, Lear, and Ford: an afternoon of talks sponsored by the Cotsen Children’s Library, the Graphic Arts Collection, and the Friends of the Princeton University Library. The program will be in Guyot Hall Auditorium, Princeton University on 16 October 2016 from 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Speakers include Robert McCracken Peck, ‘74 is Curator of Art and Senior Fellow at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Wild Lives: Catesby, Audubon, Lear, and Ford University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on science and art, including his newest: The Natural History of Edward Lear (2016). A Princeton alumnus, Peck has received honors from the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Explorers Club, and the Garden Club of America for his contributions to exploration and natural history.
Aaron M. Bauer is the Gerald M. Lemole Professor of Integrative Biology at Villanova University and Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard University), California Academy of Sciences and Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. His research interests are in reptile systematics, morphology and biogeography and the history of natural history from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Neal Woodman is a Research Zoologist with the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Curator of Mammals at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. His scientific research focuses on taxonomy, systematics, and functional anatomy of mammals, but he occasionally pursues topics in the history of natural history and has published on Major Stephen H. Long’s Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, mammals described by the early nineteenth-century natural historian Constantine S. Rafinesque, and mammals in Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale.”
Walton Ford’s grand scale watercolors of animals expand upon the visual language of traditional natural history painting, meditating on the often violent and bizarre moments at the intersection of human culture and the natural world. Although human figures rarely appear in his paintings, their presence is always implied. His work is included in a number of private and public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Most recently, he exhibited his work at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris. In 2010-2011, Ford’s midcareer retrospective traveled from the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Fur Gegenwart in Berlin, to the Albertina in Vienna and to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Ford lives and works in New York City.
The program is free and no reservations are required but for more information, contact Ian Dooley at 609-258-1148 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Event poster: Wild Lives: Catesby, Audubon, Lear, and Ford.
Image: Edward Lear, Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidæ, or Parrots (London: E. Lear, 1832). Rare Book Division, Firestone Library, Princeton University.