Here at Honey & Wax Booksellers, we take a particular interest in the evolving role of women in the rare book trade, on both the buying and selling sides. The great American book collector Mary Hyde Eccles, the first woman elected to the Grolier Club, noted that a collector must have three things: resources, education, and freedom. Historically, she observed, “only a few women have had all three, but times are changing!”

We embrace that change. In the interest of encouraging the next generation, we are delighted to award the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize, an annual prize of $1000 for an outstanding book collection conceived and built by a young woman.

The contest is open to women book collectors in the United States, aged 30 or younger. Contestants do not need to be enrolled in a degree program, nor do they require a sponsor. Honey & Wax uses ‘women’ in its most expansive definition, one fully inclusive of non-binary, trans and gender-non-conforming individuals.

The winning collection must have been started by the contestant, and all items in the collection must be owned by her. A collection may include books, manuscripts, and ephemera; it may be organized by theme, author, illustrator, publisher, printing technique, binding style, or another clearly articulated principle. 

A great collection is more than a reading list of favorite texts: it's a group of printed or manuscript objects, creatively put together, that shine light on one another. Collections will not be judged on their size or their market value, but on their originality and their success in illuminating their chosen subjects.

We encourage applicants to review the collections of our past winners, featured on our website, to get a sense of the focus and depth we reward. 

The application deadline for this year's prize is June 15, 2024.

Contestants must be aged 30 or younger by June 15, 2024. Please submit the following by the deadline of June 15, 2024:

  • Personal information: your name, date of birth, mailing address, telephone number, and email address.
  • An essay of no more than 1500 words describing the purpose, history, and ultimate ambition of the collection. What inspired you to begin collecting? How has your focus developed over time? What are the most interesting or surprising books in the collection to date? Which were you most excited to find?
  • A bibliography of at least 20, but no more than 50, items in the collection arranged by author, date, or another principle of your choice. Each entry should include, at minimum, the following information: author, title, place of publication, publisher, date, and a brief description.
  • A wish list of the three books you would most like to add to the collection, explaining your reasoning.

Photographs of your collection are welcome, but not required, and cannot serve as a substitute for careful bibliographic description. 

Honey & Wax Booksellers