T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting

Awarded to second- and fourth-year students with outstanding book collections

The University of Chicago Library is pleased to sponsor the T. Kimball Brooker Prize for undergraduate book collecting. Mr. Brooker (PhD'96) established the Prize to foster a love of the book and to encourage book collecting among undergraduates. Entry in the competition is open to current second-year and fourth-year students at the University of Chicago.

Deadline Information

Deadline: Friday, March 8, 2019

Eligibility Requirements

Restricted to second- and fourth-year students at the University of Chicago.

Application Process

Submit this application with your essay and bibliography via email to: brookerprize@lib.uchicago.edu

The application must be accompanied by a concise essay (maximum of 2 single-spaced pages) and a list of books (bibliography) in your collection.

The essay should explain the following points:

  1. The focus of your collection.
  2. Why, how, and where your collection has been acquired, and during what period of time.
  3. The anticipated future development of your collection.

See examples of past winning essays.

For each item in the bibliography, please cite author, title, place and date of publication, and describe the volume’s condition. This need not be an exhaustive list, but please make clear the range and character of your collection and include the books which you value most highly. Providing some descriptive annotations is helpful, as discussed on the Policies page. See bibliographies of past winning essays.

A good portion of the collection must be in Chicago and available for examination. All books in the collection must be the applicant's property.

Criteria of Evaluation: 

The competition is based on the care and judgment by which the student has shaped the collection. Monetary value and number of books are not critical in determining a winning collection. Primary consideration is given to discrimination and judgment in building the collection around the collector's interest. Collections may encompass a specific subject matter or the work of a particular author, or they may relate to special interests within a field. Bibliographical and physical features such as editions, illustrations, or bindings may also be the basis upon which a collection is developed. Whatever its defining quality may be, the organizing principle should be apparent in every item of the collection. An assemblage of miscellaneous volumes, it should be emphasized, does not constitute a true collection. Related information appears on the Policies page.

Awarding Prizes:

Collections will be judged by a committee consisting of members of the University faculty, staff and volunteers.  These judges will select semi-finalists based on the information presented in essays; then they will schedule appointments to examine the semi-finalists' collections to determine the prize recipients. One $1,000 prize will be awarded to a second-year student, and one $2,000 prize to a fourth-year student. Additionally, each winner will receive a one-year membership to the Caxton Club, including a subscription to the monthly Caxtonian and access to all Caxton Club events and meetings; a copy of Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell; and two complimentary passes for Caxton lunch or dinner meetings of the winner's choosing.