Neureuther book collection winners announced

University Libraries has announced the 2007 undergraduate and graduate-student winners of the 20th annual Neureuther Student Book Collection Essay Competition. Prizes are $1,000 for first place and $500 for second.

A panel of judges from the faculty and the St. Louis community selected four winners based on the theme and scope of the collection, approach to collecting, personal value to the collector and quality of the entrant’s essay on the collection.

Winners in the graduate category are:

• First-place: Tafline Crawford, doctoral candidate in anthropology in Arts & Sciences

In her essay, “Science and Politics in the History of Paleoanthropology,” Crawford explained how her interest in books on human evolution led her to notice the way evolutionary theory has been shaped — and distorted — by politics in every generation.

Crawford countered the argument that modern science is more objective, adding “changes in politics and social perceptions through time drive changes in theory.”

• Second place: Carter Smith, doctoral candidate in English in Arts & Sciences

Smith entered “Thinking the Line: A Collection of Books on Poetry and Visual Art,” a reflection on the work of several visual artists and how they have informed his understanding of poetry — specifically, how poetry is written.

His collection of art books and exhibition catalogs inspires thought about the many forms of artistic influence.

Winners in the undergraduate category are:

• First place: Robin Meyer, freshman in anthropology

In her essay, “My Collection: Defined,” Meyer discusses her collection of dictionaries, language histories and other books about words.

These books — which Meyer said she keeps within reach — have done more than “help me with homework and increase my vocabulary,” she wrote. “Each time I open a dictionary, I begin a quest.”

• Second place: Lauren Hosek, sophomore in archaeology in Arts & Sciences

Hosek entered “The Not-So-Silent Past: An Archaeology Collection,” an essay about her collection of books on the material past, the people who study it and the people who lived, struggled and achieved thousands of years ago.

As a child, her assortment of books on Vikings and mummies expanded her world. Today, these books still excite a sense of wonder and motivate her professional desire to “reconnect us once again with those long gone,” she wrote.

The competition is made possible by an endowment from Carl Neureuther, a 1940 alumnus who sought to encourage University students to read for pleasure and develop personal libraries throughout their lives.

To read the winning essays, visit