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Justin G. Schiller Prize

Endowed by Justin G. Schiller, a dealer in antiquarian children’s books and past member of the BSA Council, the Schiller Prize for Bibliographical Work on Pre-20th-Century Children’s Books is intended to encourage scholarship in the bibliography of historical children’s books. It brings a cash award of $3,000 and a year’s membership in the Society.

The 2019 winner was Maroussia Oakley for her book The Book and Periodical Illustrations of Arthur Hughes: A Spark of Genius 1832-1914Oak Knoll Press & Private Libraries Association, 2016.

The 2016 winners were Andrea Immel and Brian Alderson for their book Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song-Book: The First Collection of English Nursery Rhymes.

The 2013 winner was Kyle B. Roberts for his essay “Rethinking The New-England Primer.”


Applying for the Schiller Prize

The next Schiller Prize will be awarded at the Society’s 2022 Annual Meeting.  Works put into nomination, which must be in English, may concentrate on any children’s book printed before the year 1901 in any country or any language. Submissions should involve research into bibliography and printing history broadly conceived and should focus on the physical book as historical evidence for studying topics such as the history of book production, publication, distribution, collecting, or reading. Studies of the printing, publishing, and allied trades, as these relate to children’s books, are also welcome.

Eligible scholarship may take the form of a published book or article, a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation that has been defended and approved, or research results distributed in another manner, such as on a website or a CD-ROM. Eligible scholarship must have been published, approved, or posted between 1 January 2016 and 1 October 2018. Nominations, with copies of the monographs or links to articles and websites, must be completed by 15 November 2018. 

If a publication has an incorrect nominal date disqualifying it for submission but an actual date of publication within the prize period, it may be nominated with a letter by the publisher or editor testifying to the actual date of publication. Unpublished dissertations and theses must be accompanied by a letter from the director attesting their approval. All scholars are eligible to apply for the Schiller Prize without regard to membership in the Bibliographical Society of America or any other society, and without regard to citizenship or academic affiliation, degree, or rank. The prize will be awarded to the author of a particular work of scholarship without regard to the author’s prolonged or repeated contributions to the field. Since the prize is designed to promote research on the bibliography of children’s books, applications are encouraged from young or junior scholars who have not as yet published extensively. Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by others, including publishers, journal editors, and dissertation or thesis directors.

Applications must contain the following items:

  • a letter of intent addressed to the “Schiller Prize Committee,”
  • a one-page curriculum vitae,
  • any documentation regarding the approval of a thesis or a dissertation or confirming the date of a publication, if required.

A hard copy of a published monograph or essay placed into nomination is encouraged, but a PDF is acceptable. If a copy is not submitted, a complete citation of the work must be included with the application. Authors of web-based or online resources should provide the URL for the full-text or submit a PDF. Web-based resources require free access to the website and instructions regarding its use, along with a statement regarding plans for maintaining ongoing access.

Applications may be submitted electronically or via regular mail:

E-mailaimmel@Princeton.EDU — with cc to:

Regular Mail:

Andrea Immel
Schiller Prize Coordinator
Curator, Cotsen Children’s Library
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Princeton University Library
1 Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540

With cc to:

Schiller Prize Committee
c/o the Executive Director
Bibliographical Society of America
P.O. Box 1537
Lenox Hill Station
New York, NY 10021

All questions regarding the award should be addressed to Andrea Immel, the Schiller Prize Coordinator, at aimmel@Princeton.EDU or (609) 258-1510.