A.E. Newton Award

Book Collecting Competition

About the award

The A. Edward Newton Student Book Collection Competition is the longest-running collegiate book collecting competition in the nation, and encourages reading and collecting in an age of declining readership. Started in the 1930s by a renowned Philadelphia book collector, A. Edward Newton, the competition awards cash prizes to the three Swarthmore College students who submit the best essays and annotated bibliographies of their book collections. The winners are also invited to give a talk about their collection in McCabe Library.

How to apply



Have a collection of at least 20 books, at least 15 of which you own and up to five that you wish you could add. Textbooks may be included but not constitute a majority of the collection.


The books don't need to be expensive, rare or unique!


Write a one-page essay that defines the theme, framework, and scope of your collection. What constitutes “a collection”? How do you collect intentionally?

Annotated Bibliography

Write an annotated bibliography for each book in the collection. Bibliographical annotations should describe how each book relates to the rest of the collection, and, if not addressed in the essay, how, where, when, and why books were acquired.

Deadline and Prizes

January 25th, 2021.


1st Prize: $1,500
2nd Prize: $1,200
3rd Prize: $1,000


Submit your essay to rvargas1

Submit! and Questions?