Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Tuesday, October 6, McCabe Library held a chat hour hosting the winners of the A. Edward Newton Student Book Collection Competition. At 9:00 pm, as a special study break, juniors Ben Goossen and Chris Geissler, 1st and 2nd place winners of the competition, were invited to chat with students in the first floor lounge.
The competition, which is the oldest student book competition in the US, began in 1930 when A. Edward Newton, an author and book collector, decided to fund an annual collection competition that would reward students who took an active interest in books and book collection.
With his collection titled “Art and Illustration: The Art of N.C. Wyeth,” Goossen, the first place winner, presented a compilation of art works by N.C. Wyeth, an early 20th century American artist who is regarded as one of the greatest illustrators in the US.
His collection consists of Wyeth’s art works throughout his career, including those from the earlier parts of his career as well as in the later years, when he rose to prominence. A significant portion of Goossen’s collection consists of original copies from the early 20th century.
Wyeth’s illustrations are most prominently known through adventure books, including Treasure Island, The Riverman, and Odyssey of Homer.
The second place winner Geissler presented his collection “Tolkien’s Middle Earth: Its History and Interpretation.” His interest in Tolkien’s work started in fifth grade, when a family friend gave him a copy of The Hobbit as a Christmas gift, which was the first work of fiction he had truly enjoyed.
“I’m a Linguistics major, and 30% of that is because of Tolkien,” Geissler said.
Geissler’s collection consists of various works by Tolkien as well as works of other writers regarding Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Some of his books include The Silmarillion, and The Atlas of Middle Earth.
Even though the competition takes place every year, many students are ignorant about the competition.
“Any kind of collecting competition can seem elitist, but this competition is not,” Outreach & Instruction Librarian and competition co-coordinator, Pamela Harris, said.
For the last three years, Harris has worked with Melanie Maksin, Social Sciences Librarian and also a co-coordinator of the competition, to organize the event.
“We’ll need to make changes to make the competition seem more accessible,” Harris said.