GSLIS student Robin Camille Davis was awarded second place in the T.W. Baldwin Book Collecting Contest for her collection, “An Assemblage of Abecedaries.” This wide-ranging collection includes dictionaries, usage guides, foreign language dictionaries, and even dictionaries written both in earnest and in jest by non-lexicographers. Davis won a $500 prize.
"I began collecting dictionaries a few years ago, starting with the languages for which I've taken classes. Now my collection has expanded past learning languages. I like seeing how authors like Douglas Adams and Isaac Asimov and Ambrose Bierce play with and subvert the format of a dictionary. There's something futile about dictionaries—something hubristic in the way we attempt to harness an entire language and trap it in one book," she said.
Reverend Maurus Mount, O.S.B., a doctoral candidate in Classical Philology, received first place in the competition for his collection of Roman Catholic liturgical books from the late nineteenth-, and early twentieth-centuries. Rev. Mount’s collection of finely-printed works from the Belgian firm Desclée, and the German company Pustet, are beautiful productions that combine fine typography, engraving, gilding, and bindings. For his entry, Rev. Mount won a $1,000 prize.
Selections from Rev. Mount’s and Robin Davis’s collections will be on display in the Marshall Gallery of the University of Illinois Library, from May 9 through May 16, 2011, and Rev. Mount will be present during an upcoming meeting of the No. 44 Society, a local book collectors’ group centered in the Rare Book Library.
The Book Collecting Contest is sponsored by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Main Library, and the No. 44 Society. The contest is now in its fifth year. All contestants in the T.W. Baldwin Prize for Book Collecting receive a free subscription to “Friendscript,” the newsletter of the University Library’s Office of Advancement. Winners may be eligible for the national College Book Collecting Contest sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.
T.W. Baldwin, a professor of English at Illinois from 1925-1955, put together a world-renowned collection of imprints from the age of Shakespeare that became a core component of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Davis is a Data Curation fellow interested in the digital humanities.