Happy spring! We’re still accepting applications for the 2019 Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize, and can’t wait to be surprised by what we discover this year. Learn about our 2017 and 2018 winners here. The 2019 submission deadline is June 1.
Our work on the Honey & Wax Prize continues to shape our thinking about book collecting: how we talk about it, and why that matters.
When we launched the prize in 2017, we thought that our primary challenge would be strategic: figuring out how to reach our target audience of women collectors aged thirty and younger. We’ve found, however, that reaching that audience is a very secondary concern. The more important work to be done is in articulating and promoting a more inclusive idea of what it means to be a book collector. We’ll be addressing that ongoing challenge in a series of public events over the next couple of months.
On Wednesday, May 22, we’ll be talking about “Next Generation Book Collecting” at the New-York Historical Society, in dialogue with Michael Ryan, director of NYHS’s Klingenstein Library. We’ll use some of the highlights of the NYHS library collections to spark conversation about a wide range of approaches to everyday collecting.
On Friday, May 31, join us for “Celebrating Women Book Collectors: The Early Years of the Honey & Wax Prize” at the Smithsonian, as part of their Magnificent Obsessions speaker series. This talk will deal directly with the history of the prize, and the lessons we’ve learned from a rising generation of book collectors.
And on Wednesday, July 10, we’ll be giving the 2019 Malkin Lecture on “The Right and Wrong Ways to Collect” at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Many of our prize contestants begin by confessing that they know they haven’t been collecting the “right” way. Interestingly, many of their self-directed approaches align more with the goals of institutional collections than with the pursuit of mainstream high spots: collecting as autobiography, as outreach, as documentary, as activism. In this talk, we’ll consider the possibilities and implications of a more democratic approach to collection building.
We’d love to see you at any of these events, and as always, we look forward to helping with your own collecting! Keep an eye on the website as our latest acquisitions roll in, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any special requests.