Elmer Adler Undergraduate Collecting Prize winners announced for 2022

At the Annual Meeting and Dinner hosted by the Friends of Princeton University Library on May 1, 2022, this year’s recipients for the Elmer Adler Undergraduate Collecting Prize were announced in a brief presentation made by Emma Sarconi, Reference Professional for Special Collections and Chair of the prize selection committee. The roomful of nearly 90 Friends and Princeton University Library (PUL) staff celebrated the collections of Evan DeTurk ‘23 and Alexandra Orbuch ‘25. 


(L-R): Evan DeTurk ‘23, Emma Sarconi, Reference Professional for Special Collections, Alexandra Orbuch ‘25. Photo credit: Shelley Szwast

DeTurk’s submission focused on his collection of science fiction. With an essay entitled “Reflections on Tomorrow: The Lessons of Collecting Science Fiction,” DeTurk won first place for the 2022 competition, receiving a $2,000 prize. The selection committee found the submission a delight to read. DeTurk’s thoughtfulness, self-reflection, and tight collecting focus stood out to the committee and were highlighted by Sarconi in the presentation of his award.

Orbuch’s essay, “The Silent Companion of Memory: My Collection of Non-Fiction WW2 Era Books,” garnered Orbuch an Honorable Mention in the 2022 competition. The committee cited how well-written, multi-layered, and packed with emotion Orbuch’s submission was. Sarconi noted the incredible impact of a family member on Orbuch’s collection, and the use of different genres, including poetry, diary entry, and essay to tell the story of the collection.

Endowed from the estate of Adler (1884-1962), who for many years encouraged the collecting of books by Princeton undergraduates, the prize is awarded annually to undergraduate students who, in the opinion of a committee of judges, have shown the most thought and ingenuity in assembling a thematically coherent collection of books, manuscripts, or other material normally collected by libraries. This includes a vast array of formats and potential subject areas. To be considered, undergraduates need to craft a 9-10 page essay describing the collection in a compelling and clear manner, demonstrating thoughtfulness, care, and passion. 

DeTurk’s and Orbuch’s essays will now be entered into the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, organized by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. In addition, DeTurk’s essay will also have the opportunity to be featured in a Library-affiliated publication.

The submission process for the 2023 prize will open in spring term 2023. 

Visit the LibGuide for more information and to find out more about previous year winners.

Published on June 29, 2022

Written by Stephanie Oster, Publicity Manager

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications