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Winners of 62nd annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest recognized

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

LAWRENCE — KU Libraries announced the winners of the 62nd annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest at an awards presentation on April 11. The contest, established in 1957 by Elizabeth Snyder, is designed to recognize and cultivate students' interest in collecting books. Snyder worked with Robert Vosper, director of KU Libraries at the time, to launch the contest. In recent years, additions to the rules have been made to accept digital objects and nonprint materials for submission as collections or in addition to books.

Judges selected first, second and honorable mention from finalists in the undergraduate and graduate divisions.  

Alex Houston, of Lawrence, with the collection “Exploration and Conservation: Uniting Outdoor Recreation and Environmentalism Through Rock Climbing,” took first place in the undergraduate division. Second place was awarded to Madeline York, of Lawrence, for “Stepping into Wild Territory.” Kyndall Delph, North Little Rock, Arkansas, was selected as honorable mention for “Navigating the Black Identity.”

In the graduate division, Paul Schwennesen, of Weston, Missouri, placed first with his collection titled “Borderlands — A Manifesto of Overlap.” Kelsey Johnson, of Cincinnati, won second place for “Electrifying Edo Entertainment: A Collection of Books about Japanese Popular Culture during the Edo Period.” Finally, Emily Foltz was selected as honorable mention for “The Oboe: Its Past, Performance, and Pedagogy.” 

The winner of each division received a cash prize and a gift card from Jayhawk Ink, a division of the KU Bookstore and longtime partner in the competition. Cash prizes are made possible by an endowment fund created by Elizabeth Snyder. Houston and Schwennesen are also eligible for entry into the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, with a top prize of $2,500.

Judges for this year’s contest were Beth Whittaker, KU Libraries assistant dean of Distinctive Collections and director of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library; David Snyder, a former Snyder contest winner in the graduate competition; and Cote Smith, novelist and author of the novels “Limetown” and “Hurt People.” Smith also served as the featured speaker during the awards reception. 

“Serving as a judge for the Snyder contest is always an honor for me. The essays and the collections themselves are often personal, informative and charming,” Whittaker said. “It’s a unique opportunity to get to know a person through their passion for a particular subject or theme, and I’m glad to be a part of a long-standing tradition.”

The collections of the first and second place winners from both divisions are on display through Thursday, April 26, in an exhibition case outside Jayhawk Ink on the second floor of the Kansas Union. Photos from the event are available for viewing. For more information about the contest and its history, visit the Snyder Contest website

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