Established in 1995, the Helen Warren DeGolyer Triennial Exhibition and Competition for American Bookbinding is hosted every three years by Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The competition, exhibition, and accompanying DeGolyer Conference aim to inspire and encourage the craft and art of bookbinding in the United States.
The DeGolyer Competition invites American bookbinders to propose a design for a book held by Bridwell Library Special Collections and to submit a recently completed example of his or her work. The winner of the Helen Warren DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding receives a commission to realize his or her proposed design. In addition, prizes for Excellence in Fine Binding and Design are awarded.
Completed commissions of previous DeGolyer Award winners and a selection of competition entries, including design proposals and sample bindings, are exhibited in The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries at Bridwell Library.
In conjunction with the triennial exhibition and competition, the Helen Warren DeGolyer Conference is held at Bridwell Library and Perkins School of Theology on the Southern Methodist University campus. The conference features lectures and workshops led by noted binders and artists.
The DeGolyer family of Dallas has long been associated with book collecting and Helen Warren DeGolyer (†1995) with bookbinding, an art she both loved and mastered. She learned bookbinding with Mariana Roach and later worked with Dorothy Westapher. She also studied with Swiss binder Hugo Peller.
Thanks to a generous bequest by Mrs. DeGolyer and the help of her children and her brother, Joe Warren, the Helen Warren DeGolyer Triennial Exhibition and Competition for American Bookbinding was founded as a tribute to Mrs. DeGolyer.
For more information about Mrs. DeGolyer please see the June 1995 obituary in the Guild of Book Workers Newsletter.