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Book collecting contest winner is...

Apr 26, 2011 3:45 PM

Abigail Smith accepts the  Book Collecting Award
Abigail Smith accepts the Book Collecting
Award from Dr. Patrick Scott.
Abigail L. Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature, is the 2011 winner of the Thomas Cooper Library Student Book Collecting Contest at the University of South Carolina. Her collection, "We Are What We Eat: A Story of American Cookery," encompasses many elements of culinary culture in the 20th century, including domesticity, family history, memory, and corporate and industrial food production and consumption.

This year's runner-up entry, "New Orleans Books," was collected by Zack O'Neill, an MFA student in the Department of English Language and Literature.

Cookbook page
From Smith's collection: an
illustration by Charmatz,
from Esquire Cook-Book,
NY: McGraw-Hill, 1955
Smith received the first-prize award of $250, and both students were recognized at the Thomas Cooper Society's Annual General Meeting and Banquet on April 21. A selection of books from Smith's collection will be on exhibit in Thomas Cooper Library later this spring. Smith's winning entry also will be submitted to the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, and the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies. The University's 2007 winner was a runner-up in the national contest.

The Thomas Cooper Library Student Book Collecting Contest was created to foster student interest in establishing and building personal book collections. The University's libraries have many of the world's top literary research collections, including ones on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John Milton and Robert Burns. The award, sponsored by Thomas Cooper Library, was begun in 1993 by the Thomas Cooper Society to encourage beginning book collectors.

Collections entered into the competition may be in any field or may emphasize some particular area of interest within a subject. Collections may illustrate a certain bibliographical feature such as edition, illustration, typography and binding. Books and printed documents in all formats are acceptable for submission. Materials submitted by entrants must be owned and have been collected primarily by them. To enter, students must submit a brief essay describing how and why the collection was assembled, including plans for future growth and development, and an annotated bibliography of selected titles from the collection.

A list of previous winners and the topics of their collections is available at