About The Hofer Prize
The Philip Hofer prize is awarded each year to a student or students whose collections of books or works of art best reflect the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination exemplified by Philip Hofer, A.B. '21, L.H.D. '67. Hofer was the founder and first curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library and secretary of the Fogg Art Museum.
- Contest entries are judged on the purpose, consistency, and quality of the collection, and the presentation of the essay and bibliography. The cost and rarity of collection items and the size of the collection are not criteria.
- The panel of judges reserves the right to make awards only to contestants whose collections are considered to be of exceptional quality. First prize is awarded $3,000, second prize $1,500, and third prize $750.
- Winners will be invited to participate in an awards ceremony in April and to lend representative books or works of art to an exhibition at the library.
- The prize, which encourages student interest in collecting, was established by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. '52, L.L.B. '55.
How to Apply
The deadline for the Philip Hofer prize was February 17, 2023. Details for the 2024 prize will be announced in fall 2023.
Entries should include:
An essay of approximately 2,500 words
- Describe the scope, contents, and goal of the collection.
- Be sure to include: some account of when and how the collection was formed, its size, why the collector chose to collect the materials described, principles for focusing the collection, and plans for the further development of the collection.
An annotated list or bibliography
- Include between 20 and 50 items in the collection, selected to illustrate its nature.
- If the collection is a book or print collection, bibliographical references are suggested.
- Photographs of unique or representative items are welcome.
Entry Rules and Submission Guidelines
- The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Harvard. The library welcomes students from traditionally underrepresented groups at Harvard to apply.
- To be eligible, collections must be formed and be owned by the contestant.
- Collections may be of any kind in the area of books or art. For example, book collections may focus on authors, subjects, bindings, design, illustration, printing techniques, etc. Art collections may focus on drawings, prints, photographs, painting, sculpture, decorative arts, coins, etc.
- The judges may ask to examine the entire collection or a representative part of it, and may wish to talk informally with the contestants. For this reason, the custom of making prize submissions under pseudonyms is not observed for this contest.
- The same collection cannot be submitted in the same year both to this competition and to the Library Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting. However, different collections may be submitted for the two prizes in the same year, or the same collection may be entered for the other prize in a different year.
- Contest entries are judged on the purpose, consistency, and quality of the collection, and the presentation of the essay and bibliography.
- Entries must be submitted electronically.