University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections


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James David Forbes Book Collecting Prize

Portrait of Principal James David Forbes, with book, 1865

We are delighted to be offering the prize of £500 for a student collection of books. Open to any registered student of the University of St Andrews in the academic year 2016-17, the collection may consist of books, printed ephemera, manuscripts or photographs, but should have a common theme. Size and monetary value of the collection will not be taken into account, but the collection must be owned and have been put together entirely by the entrant.   

The prize will be in two parts:

  • A payment of £500 to the winning student

  • An allowance of £250 for the purchase of a book, manuscript or photograph for the University Library’s Special Collections, to be chosen by the winner in co-operation with the Division’s curators.

Entries should take the form of an annotated list of the items in the collection, together with an essay of not more than 2500 words explaining the interest of the collection. You may include images if you wish. Entries must be accompanied by an application form which can be downloaded below. Full details of the rules and application procedure can be found in the Prize rules for 2016-17.

The closing date for entries is 1 June 2017.

Entries should be submitted to or to the Special Collections Division, Library Annexe, North Haugh, KY16 9WH.

The prize is offered in honour of James David Forbes (1809-1868), the eminent scientist and Principal of the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard at St Andrews, whose stellar library was presented to the University in 1929. The purpose of the prize is to encourage students of the University to build their own coherent collections of books and to promote interest in book collecting. Similar prizes have been established at the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and other prizes exist in North America and England.

JD Forbes Prize application form (PDF, 473 KB)

JD Forbes Prize Rules (PDF, 620 KB)