The IOBA Scholarship Committee reviewed a number of worthy applications this year, and we have two very deserving winners. Before getting to that, though, just a few words about the scholarships.
As those who have been keeping up with announcements on the IOBA lists know, our organization offers two scholarships each year. The first is for the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, held in Colorado Springs in August each year. The second is an open scholarship which can be used for a number of educational opportunities (e.g., the University of Virginia Rare Book School). These scholarships are an important aspect of IOBA’s overall mission to strengthen the book trade, and a valuable benefit for members who want to take the next step in developing their skills as booksellers. A scholarship allows a member to continue his/her education and establish lasting relationships with other members of the trade, without the financial burden of tuition, travel and living expenses. I believe this is one of the most important benefits IOBA offers as an organization, because it allows members to do things that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible.
The winner of the 2013 IOBA Scholarship to the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar:
Marc Kuritz of Churchill Book Collector
As his business name indicates, Marc specializes in material relating to Winston S. Churchill. He has been in business for over five years, and has an impressive catalog of material within his area of specialty. His depth of knowledge about the content, edition points, relative scarcity, and even writing style, of various Churchill titles is the result of careful research, patience, and a genuine connection with the material.
Marc’s application was very well-written, showing both a command of language and a professional approach to his work. This came as no surprise to me – my experiences doing business with Marc has shown that he exemplifies the ethical behavior we as an organization expect from our members. There were other things that were impressive about Marc’s submission – future applicants, take note! For example, he laid out very clearly where his business is now, and where he hopes to take his business using the knowledge gained at CABS. He exhibited, through a series of vignettes from his time in the book world (both as a collector and a bookseller), that he has the capacity and the drive to establish himself as a leader within the trade. Finally, Marc indicated a desire to contribute not only to his own personal success, but to the health of the trade in general.
The winner of the 2013 IOBA open scholarship:
Andrea Tomberg of Tomberg Rare Books
Andrea quickly established herself in my mind as one to watch. While she did not ask questions or add comments every day, when she did they were carefully crafted and based on a solid knowledge of the book trade and her place in it. This is even more impressive upon realizing that Andrea reached this level of business sense without the years of mistakes so many of us seem to go through.
Lorne Bair was on the faculty at CABS that year, and obviously took notice as well. He supplied a glowing recommendation letter to go with Andrea’s application for the 2013 open scholarship. It is worth noting that Lorne specializes in material related to the history of social movements, and Andrea specializes in counterculture material. This shows that in the two years since CABS, Andrea has established and maintained connections with, and earned the respect of, top dealers in her particular niche of the book trade. It also shows that she fully understands the power of a properly used reference, which as we all know is quite important in our line of work.
Andrea plans to use the open scholarship to attend Rare Book School’s course Developing Collections: Donors, Librarians & Booksellers. Her application, more than any of the others submitted, showed laser focus, and clearly explained exactly what skills she expected to learn, how she planned to use those skills, and why they were particularly important given her area of specialty.
I am proud to have served as chair for the committee this year. I would like to thank the committee members for taking time out of their schedules to carefully review and discuss each application, and cast their votes, especially given the limited timeframe. I would also like to congratulate our membership for encouraging fellow members to apply. The level of interest we saw in scholarships this year was excellent, and I hope this will continue.
Congratulations to both our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated.