Applestein-Sweren Book Collecting Prize

Goucher College Library

The Applestein-Sweren Prize is funded by a generous endowment established by Betty Applestein Sweren '52 and Dr. Edgar Sweren in 2012. Annual prizes are awarded to Goucher students who present thoughtfully constructed personal collections of books and related ephemera.  The competition encourages Goucher students to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives; to appreciate the special qualities of printed or illustrated works; and to read, research and preserve their collected works for pleasure and scholarship. Collections can be on any subject and this contest is open to all Goucher students.  Click here for a list of previous winners.

The 2016-2017 application is closed. Check back in Fall 2017 for next year's application.

Apply Here!

Prizes -- What is a Collection? -- How to Apply -- Criteria for Evaluation -- Judges


Three potential prizes are available annually to Goucher students:

1st Prize: $500

2nd Prize: $250

3rd Prize: $150

The 1st prize winner will also be eligible for the $2,500 national prize awarded by the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS) and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division.  (See website for more information.)

Winners will be given the opportunity to curate a small exhibition of their collections in the Goucher College Library.


What is a Collection?

A collection consists of items that a student has come to own as a consequence of developing a particular interest, which may be academic or not. A collection should reflect a clearly defined unifying theme or interest. It may incorporate ephemera, maps, prints, autograph material as well as books, either hard cover or paperback, as long as they are germane to the collection's focus. How well a collection reflects the collector's intent is more significant than either the number of items or the monetary value of the collection.

For examples of winning submissions from other institutions, please click here.  


How to Apply:

Applications for the prize must include the following:

• A 2-4 page essay describing how and why the collection as a whole was assembled.

• An annotated bibliography of at least twenty representative items from the collection. The annotations should reflect the importance of each item to the collection as a whole.

• An annotated "wish list" of at least ten other book titles that you would like to add in the future to complete or enhance your existing collection.

• Digital images of items in the collection including five representative items.

• Complete submission form including contact information.

Apply Here!


Criteria for Evaluation:

• Clearly stated purpose or unifying theme of the collection.

• Extent to which the collection represents the stated purpose/theme.

• Evidence of creativity in building the collection.

• Originality, innovation and uniqueness in the collection or the collecting process.

• Quality of the application essay describing the collection.


Judges: The judging panel will consist of members of the Goucher faculty, library staff, and members from the larger Goucher and Baltimore community with a passion for books and book collecting.

For any questions, email the Assistant to the College Librarian at Thanks.