The George and Anna Eliot Ticknor
Collecting Prize


Each year, the Ticknor Society awards a $1000 George and Anna Eliot Ticknor Book and Book Culture Collecting Prize to encourage and recognize those who have been inspired to create a book collection of their own. The award is given in the spirit of the scholarship of George Ticknor and his daughter, Anna Eliot, who were scholars, teachers, and avid book collectors. The winner will also be invited to speak about their collection at our Ticknor Society annual meeting in the spring, and will be offered a complimentary one-year Ticknor Society membership.


To be considered for the Ticknor Book and Book Culture Collecting Prize, collections must be compiled, curated and owned by the contestant. An eligible collection may include books, manuscripts and ephemera.  Collections will not be judged on their size or market value, but on their originality and creativity. The collector must be a resident of one of the six New England states.


To apply, please submit an essay of up to 1500 words describing the inspiration behind the creation of the collection, as well as its history, current status, and future direction. Also, please submit images of one or more items in the collection and a bibliography of the collection.


The bibliographic list should contain up to 20 items citing: the author, title, place, publisher and date of publication, type of binding, condition, annotations on the importance of individual pieces, and why they are in your collection.


We will begin accepting entries after March 1 of each year, and the deadline for applications is April 15. The winner will be notified on June 30, and the prize awarded at the annual Boston Antiquarian Book Fair in the fall of each year.

If you have any questions, please email us Here.

Some background on Anna Ticknor from Marie Oedel

Marie has been transcribing 118 letters dated from 1862-1896 from Anna Eliot Ticknor and her mother, Anna Ticknor, to Mrs. Lyell in England, and thinks members might be interested in hearing a bit of Anna's thoughts and opinions:


Here are three short excerpts from Anna's letters:

9 Park Street, Boston
Dec. 24. 1867:

Dearest Mrs. Lyell,
...I am pretty well except a cold in my head & tonight Mamma & I are going to hear Dickens read his Christmas Carol, I am curious to hear him, but as I do not have the general enthusiasm about his writings & did not like him personally when he was first here, I do not expect to be carried away by his reading. He has done much good in the world, no doubt, by advocating reforms while at the same time he furnished amusement & excitement - to a great part of the generation he has written for, but his kind of fun & his styles of mind do not affect me at all as they do almost everybody I know... Anna Eliot Ticknor

9 Park Street, Boston
Aug. 9, 1868
...I was quite interested in a short review of a new translation of the Psalms, by four friends, and used my privilege as a citizen of Boston by asking, as one may do, to have it bought for the Public Library, so I hope I shall see it soon. It was a bold idea to furnish printed blanks at the Library, to anyone who uses the other privileges thereby they may ask for any book they please, old or new, in any language, of any price & if there is no serious objection it will be procured in the shortest possible time, but the bold idea has worked well & it is very rare that it is necessary to refuse the application. Of course people are ashamed to ask for poor books over their own signature, and it works well to have part of the money of the Library applied in this way, for these books are sure to be wanted by some one, whereas it may happen that books ordered by the trustees might stand a long while unused... Anna Eliot Ticknor<

9 Park Street
Dec. 10, 1872
My dear Mrs. Lyell, Your very kind letter of Oct. 30 reached me just after we had gone through the excitement of our great fire, & although it was not as disastrous as the Chicago fire, it upset us a great deal, & occupied our thoughts for a long time - For the first three weeks after the fire people were, as it were, stunned - No one invited, & few visited any but their most intimate friends. The gentlemen were all intensely occupied, unraveling & settling affairs, complicated by the disaster involving so many at once & the ladies were either busy with the work of relief to those suffering severely by the results, or else taken up with economics forced upon by many, or really affected by the physical effect of the excitement... The sight of such uncontrolled conflagration, less than 1/4 of a mile from your windows, the heat of the air perceptible when you opened the sash - the sound of vehicles & voices & steam fire engines, all conveying the idea of hurry & labour & anxiety, - the uncertainty when a slight change of wind, or, even without that, the irresistible progress of the fire we knew so well from the Portland & Chicago experiences - when these nights put us in immediate danger of losing this old house & most of its contents, so full of associations - the suspense and effort to keep about all these made the first & chief night of the fire very exhausting. Then came the second, smaller fire, each nearer to us, & at first apparently almost as serious - & the third night... Then, every day, the accounts of losses & strange accidents - It seems very curious, that massive stone & brick buildings, however crowded together, could be consumed so rapidly, but we see, now, that warehouses six stories high, should not have a wooden upper story, mansard roof, on the top, for though slated, the dormer windows, with wooden ornaments & so on, carried the fire along like lightning, & once fully started, its own heated air & the gale it created, made it rush on, leaping up streets...