Congratulations to Ashley Young, Duke Ph.D. candidate in history, who just won second place in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest!
In recognition of her bibliophilic brio, she will receive a $1,000 cash prize (presumably to spend on more books!) and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Duke at a special awards ceremony on October 18 at the Library of Congress. As her home institution, the Duke University Libraries also receive $500!
The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest is the “Super Bowl” of book collecting competitions, bringing together the winners of more than three dozen local competitions at colleges and universities across the United States, including Duke. It is sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Center for the Book, and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.
Earlier this year, Ashley took first place in the graduate category of the Andrew T. Nadell Book Collectors Contest, sponsored by the Friends of the Duke University Libraries, for her collection of historic cookbooks and literary sources that chronicle the history of Creole cuisine. That earned her a $750 cash prize and the eligibility to compete on the national level.
In her collection essay, Ashley says that her cookbook collection was inspired by an internship at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, which introduced her to nineteenth-century Creole culture. The books are also tied to her dissertation research on Southern foodways in the early years of American statehood.
“The creation of American culture is best understood not as a purely national phenomenon, but one that is intimately connected to the local and global dynamics at play in Southern port cities—dynamics that food vendors and urban residents interacted with and shaped on a daily basis,” she writes.
She acquired many of the works in her collection through creative searches online and by combing the shelves of Kitchen Witch Cookbooks in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Some of her historical cookbooks are even on display at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum or are housed in their library collection. “I have a strong belief that these cookbooks should be shared with the broader public so that individuals have the opportunity to hold in their hands historic cookbooks that shaped the lives and foodways of generations of Americans,” Ashley says.
Duke has been well represented in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Competition. In 2011, our last graduate-level winner, Mitch Fraas (also a Ph.D. candidate in history), took first place for his collection on Anglo-American legal printing from 1702 to the present.
Here’s a video we made of our own book collecting contest participants earlier this year. Look for Ashley around the 1:46 mark.
About the Book Collecting Contest at Duke
Since 1947, the Friends of the Duke University Libraries have organized a book collecting contest in alternate years to promote reading for enjoyment and the development of students’ personal libraries. The 2013 contest was named for Dr. Andrew T. Nadell M’74, an avid collector in the areas of Gothic Revival, Doctors of Medicine, and Learned Professions and Occupations. The contest includes an undergraduate and a graduate division. Cash prizes are offered in each division. Collections are judged on the extent to which books and materials represent a well-defined field of interest. The next contest will be held in 2015. See the contest website for more information.