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Book Collecting

Associated with the annual National Collegiate Book Collecting Competition.

William Claspy: Head of Special Collections & Archives

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William Claspy
Kelvin Smith Library, 201-T
11055 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

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National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

Mythbusting Book Collecting with Rebecca Romney

Mythbusting Book Collecting with Rebecca Romney

April 13, 2021 5pm EST

View a recording of this event on the CWRU YouTube channel.


Rebecca Romney

Does book collecting sound like an outdated and non-inclusive hobby? Kelvin Smith Library challenges these assumptions with the virtual presentation “Mythbusting Book Collecting with Rebecca Romney” as the library’s annual book collecting event for 2021.

Rebecca Romney is a rare book dealer, appraiser, and author. She is the co-founder of Type Punch Matrix, a Washington DC-area rare book firm specializing in pivotal works from every field. Romney has been in the trade since 2007, when she was hired by Bauman Rare Books and began appearing on the HISTORY Channel’s television show Pawn Stars as the rare book specialist in 2011. She is one of the longest running specialists (and the only regular woman specialist) on the show. Additionally, Romney is the co-founder and one of the judges of the Honey & Wax Prize, an annual award for an outstanding book collection built by a woman, age 30 or younger, living in the United States. As a researcher and collector, Romney's personal interests lie in genre fiction, especially science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In 2017, Rebecca published her first book: Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History.

Image of Rebecca Romney Courtesy of Dave Pappas

People gathered around a table with books.


2017 was the inaugural year of the Kelvin Smith Library Book Collecting Contest. The contest is part of the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Julia Gelfand and David Lang provide sponsorship for the contest. A reception was held at Kelvin Smith Library on April 28, 2017 honoring the contest winners.

1st place: Virtuoso String Performers and Pedagogues of the Twentieth Century, Katherine Rogers, graduate student
2nd place: Submarines, Evan Cerne-Iannone, undergraduate student
3rd place: From Joan of Arc to Richard III: War and Peace in Late Medieval England and France, Dominica Rollins, undergraduate student

Image of the 2017 Book Collecting Reception Courtesy of Kelvin Smith Library

Man standing at a podium and speaking to an audience.


Instead of a contest in 2018, John Buchtel, the former head of special collections at Georgetown University now of the Boston Athenaeum, presented "Jane Eyre as Material Text: The Lives and Afterlives of a Classic." The recording is available on You Tube: Jane Eyre as Material Text: The Lives and Afterlives of a Classic

Image of John Buchtel Courtesy of Kelvin Smith Library



1st place: A Look at China History Through American Eyes: Chinese Elements on the Life Magazine Covers, Jianhong Guo, graduate student   

2nd place: Editions and Adaptations of Dracula, Leah Davydov, graduate student
3rd place: Comics and Zines, Matthew Haberbusch, undergraduate student

Image Courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo


Books on a table.


The winners of Kelvin Smith Library's Book Collecting Contest were announced and celebrated remotely due to the pandemic shutdown.

1st place: A Case for Wider Recognition of Owen Wister, Meghan Schill, graduate student
2nd place: My International Treasure-Trove: Global Choral Compositions, Anna O'Connell, graduate student
3rd place: Opera Librettos, Paul Abdullah, graduate student

Image Courtesy of Paul Abdullah


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