Student Book Collecting Contest

Applestein-Sweren Book Collecting Prize

The Applestein-Sweren Prize is funded by a generous endowment established by Betty Applestein Sweren '52 and Dr. Edgar Sweren in 2012. 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.

For more information on the next prize please contact


Three potential prizes are available annually to Goucher students:

1st Prize: $500

2nd Prize: $250

3rd Prize: $150

All prize winners 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 the National Collegiate Book Collecting 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. All items of the collection must be in physical format. 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.

View examples of winning submissions (PDF) available in Goucher College's institutional repository, eScholarship@Goucher.

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.

Applications are not being accepted at this time.


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 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 Goucher College Library at


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.

Past Award Winners


Co-First Place
Ruut DeMeo '20, The Kalevala: Retellings and Interpretations of the Ancient Myth

Co-First Place
Matthew Jenkins '21, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Beaten, Battered, and Yellowed Bundle of Pages

Co-Second Place
Joshua Miller ‘20, Shades of the Color Black: Perspectives of the Black Identity

Co-Second Place
Lena Fultz ’19, The Value of a True Story: Memoir as a Writer’s Primary Source

Honorable Mention
Abigail Mahoney-Cloutier ’22, High Fantasy in Ink


First Place
Rose Berman, Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program '17, Antoine de Saint Exupéry: Pilot, Author, Friend

Second Place
Jackson Gilman-Forlini, MA of Historic Preservation '18, Histories of Baltimore: How did we get here?

Honorable Mention
Htet Htet Aye Win '19, Stories from Yesterday: A Collection of Myths, Legends, Fairytales, and Folktales


First Place
Micaela Beigel '19, Once We Were Dreamers: A Collection of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

Honorable Mention
Julianna Head '19, Adventures with Animals: Through Emotional Landscapes and Actual Ones


Co-First Place
Laura Williams '17, Collecting the Adoption Story, One Page at a Time

Co-First Place
Hannah Fenster '15, 'A Thousand Other Hearts': Women Who Guide Me

Second Place
Michelle Tirto '15, Perspectives of the City

Third Place
Emily K. Collins '15, 'Home Maker': What it Was to be a Woman in Late Victorian America


First Place
Jacqueline Cast '14, Mind and Iron: A Collection Inspired by Isaac Asimov's Positronic Robots

Second Place
Shayna Meisel '16, Collecting Heroines

Third Place
Miranda Harmon '14, Comics, Anthologies and Zines

Honorable Mention
Emily K. Collins '15, And Baby Makes...?: Reproduction (or Lack Thereof) in the Mid to Late 19th Century


Co-First Place
Lily Dodge '12, A Portal to Middle Earth: The Dodge Collection of Tolkien Books & Ephemera

Co-First Place
Camden Kimura '12, I Know That Town: To Kill A Mockingbird

Second Place
Cynthia Ferguson '14, Strange Things Afoot: Gothic Literature in the American Tradition

Honorable mention
JoAnna Ramsey '16, The Movies, the Magic and Me