The George and Anna Eliot Ticknor
Collecting Prize

Since 2019, The Ticknor Society has awarded an annual George and Anna Eliot Ticknor Book and Book Culture Collecting Prize to recognize and inspire personal book collecting. The award is given in the spirit of George Ticknor and his daughter, Anna Eliot, who were scholars, teachers, and avid book collectors.

The purpose of this competition is to encourage book collectors to understand more deeply what their collection means to them, what they have collected, how it might be helpful to other collectors and researchers, and how they want their collection to develop in the future. The application process may help them develop their skill for describing their collection to others. We also hope it will provide a way for our members to interact more, either in person or on Zoom.

The award currently carries a prize of $1,000. The recipient of the award is invited to speak about their collection at a meeting of The Ticknor Society and will be offered a complimentary year of Ticknor Society membership. The recipient’s submission is posted on The Ticknor Society’s website to encourage and provide examples of a variety of book collecting achievements.

All other entrants will receive a complimentary year of membership in the Ticknor Society.

The competition is open to anyone, of any age, primarily residing at the time of entry in any of the six New England states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont. Entries from collectors residing in these states may be on any topic.

In addition, we welcome submissions from collectors residing outside of New England whose collections focus primarily on books, manuscripts, and ephemera pertaining to New England from any period of its history.

Current and Past Winners of the Collecting Prize:

2023: Kent Bicknell, "An Alcott Family Collection"

You can see Kent's winning entry HERE.

Honorable Mentions:

Barbara A. Brannon, PhD, "The Company of Books: Highlights from the Pioneering Hampshire Bookshop of Northampton." View HERE.

Douglas Scott Brown, "Plotting the Path to Justice: The Stories Behind the Stories." View HERE.

2022: Dr. Jessica C. Linker, "Emma Hart Willard: A Life in Print"

You can see Jessica's winning entry HERE.

2021: Erika Knowles, "'A Pleasant Painting, Isn't It?': New Milford, Connecticut as Artist's Muse"

You can see Erika's winning entry HERE.

2020: Maida Tilchen, “In Celebration of New Mexico Books and Book People”

You can see Maida's winning entry HERE.

2019: Robert Grandchamp, “Collecting a Regiment”

You can see Robert's winning entry HERE.

The Ticknor Society will be providing support to those preparing their entries:

  • Entrants can send any questions or suggestions to
  • As examples of the diversity of subject matter and style of entries, the previous entries that received the award are posted on the Ticknor Society site below.
  • We will hold occasional “Collectors Happy Hour” zooms during which entrants can meet other collectors, share their plans and concerns, and encourage everyone to keep working on their collection and entry.
  • We have created a resource guide that provides advice, useful links, and helpful tips to aid in developing your entry. The guide can be downloaded HERE, and a video breaking down the guide and the Prize rules can be found HERE.

To be considered for the Ticknor Collecting Prize, a collection:

  • must be compiled, curated, and owned by the applicant.
  • should reflect a clearly defined unifying theme or interest.
  • may incorporate books, ephemera, maps, prints, or autograph material that are germane to the collection's focus.

How well a collection reflects the collector's intent is more significant than either the number of items or the monetary value of the collection. Collections will be judged on their originality and creativity, and the degree to which they may support primary research and learning in the topic they represent.

Guidelines for Applying to the Ticknor Collecting Prize:

We have clarified the format for entries. Please submit an essay of up to 1500 words stating:

  • the purpose of the collection
  • how the collection began
  • how and where the items were collected
  • highlights of the collection
  • how you envision the collection will evolve

The essay should be followed by a bibliographic list containing at least 12 but not more than 20 representative items:

  • Related multiple items, such as the complete run of a periodical, may be presented as one item.
  • Each item should be given a full bibliographic description, including the author, title, publication information (if known), type of binding (if applicable), condition, and mentions of any annotations or inscriptions, bookplates, etc.
  • Each entry should include an accompanying narrative description of not more than 250 words that explains the relevance of the item to the theme of the collection. The descriptions may cite sources but must be authored by the collector, not copied or adapted from dealer descriptions.
  • Photos with captions should be embedded in the document rather than shared as separate files or links. Each photo can be placed before its bibliographic entry, or all the photos can be placed at the end of the document. For instructions, see
  • The essay, bibliography, and photographs must be submitted as a PDF or Word document.
  • The file name for the PDF or Word document should follow this format:
    • [Your last name] [One-word topic of collection] [year].[file format]
    • For example, if your last name is Newton and your collection is books about butterflies, your file name would be:
      • Newton butterflies 2023.pdf
      • or Newton butterflies 2023.docx
  • Entries will be accepted starting March 1.
  • The deadline for entering is April 15.
  • To enter the competition:
    • Send an email to
    • In the subject line, put the words “Award Submission [year] from [your full name]
    • In the Message area, put the words “My submission is attached.”
    • Attach your one PDF or Word file which meets the requirements stated above
  • The person selected for the award will be notified on June 30.
  • The Ticknor Society encourages you to enter again! Collectors who are not selected for the prize may revise their submissions and enter again in future years. The competitors and the judges will change from year to year.
  • The prize will be presented at the annual Ticknor Society Collectors’ Roundtable, typically held at the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which takes place at the Hynes Convention Center each fall.

We hope you find the process of preparing your entry to be informative and satisfying. We look forward to receiving your submission for the George and Anna Eliot Ticknor Book and Book Culture Collecting Prize!