The Smithsonian Libraries invites you to the first in a series of talks related to our newest exhibition, Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect:
Heather O’Donnell and Rebecca Romney
Honey & Wax Booksellers
Friday, May 31st, 2019. 1 pm ET
National Museum of Natural History
In this talk, rare book dealers Heather O’Donnell and Rebecca Romney of Honey & Wax Booksellers share some of the experiences that inspired their annual prize of $1000 for an outstanding book collection built by a woman in the United States, aged 30 or younger. While there have always been a select number of women in the top ranks of American book collectors, the field remains largely dominated by men, both as buyers and sellers. The result of that imbalance has been a predictable series of missed connections. Historically, many booksellers have been slow to recognize and cultivate women collectors, especially when those women approach their chosen subjects from unconventional angles; many women have been hesitant to identify as “book collectors” at all, even when they are building serious and original collections.
In 2017, Heather and Rebecca established the Honey & Wax Prize to draw attention to the range of creative approaches to book collecting currently being practiced by young women in the United States, expanding the popular perception of book collecting from an elite pursuit to a more democratic practice. Their goal is to celebrate women building exceptional collections, and to encourage more women to identify confidently as collectors from a young age. Heather and Rebecca will survey some of their favorite prize submissions, and reflect on what they are learning from a rising generation of women collectors.
Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect is now on view in the National Museum of American History.