Brooker Prize for Book Collecting

T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting

The 2021 Prize is now open for applications! Please submit your application through the form here.

Applications have been extended until Monday, March 29th, 2021

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.

Eligibility

We welcome all second and fourth-year students at the University of Chicago to apply.

Criteria

Students are not expected to have collections that are large, valuable in monetary terms, or complete. Rather, the competition emphasizes thoughtfulness and intent in building a collection around the collector's interests. Collections may focus on a topic, the work of one or more authors, or physical features such as illustrations and bindings. In addition to books, collections of musical scores and printed maps may be entered into the prize competition.

Past winners have collections focused on subjects that range from religion in ancient Egypt to feminist zines, from cover art to Latin American poetry. Learn more about last year's Prize Winners here!

Prizes Awarded

  • $1,000 to up to two second-year students
  • $2,000 to up to two fourth-year students

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.

Submission

Review and complete the Brooker Prize Application. Your application must be accompanied by an abstract describing your collection and its theme; a short essay (maximum of 2 single-spaced pages); and a bibliography of books in your collection. More information coming soon about where and how to submit your application.

Judges

The panel of judges includes faculty and librarians, as well as representatives of the book trade, the Library Society, and a recent graduate of the College. The following individuals were selected as this year's judges:

  • Elizabeth Frengel, Curator of Rare Books and Committee Chair
  • Thomas Dannenberg, President & CEO, Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Company
  • Jeff Deutsch, Director, Seminary Cooperative Bookstores, Inc.
  • Michael Thompson, Chair, University of Chicago Library Society
  • Rosanna Warren, Poet and The Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, Fundamentals: Issues and Texts, and the College

Exhibit

Winners will be asked to contribute a small selection (three to six works) from their collections to be included in the Brooker Prize display in Regenstein Library for the final weeks of spring quarter.

Re-submission

Collections not selected for the 2nd-year prize are eligible for re-submission in your 4th-year. In such cases, you should specify in your essay how your collection has grown and developed.

Additional information

Contact us at brookerinformation@lib.uchicago.edu with questions about the competition or application requirements.