2021 DeGolyer Bookbinding Competition

Guidelines for Submission


Submissions will be accepted until December 1, 2021.


The competition is open to all bookbinders who are American citizens, living either in the U.S. or abroad.

Competition book details

Five Poems by Toni Morrison, silhouettes by Kara E. Walker, Rainmaker Editions, 2002. Additional information about the book can be found here.

Entry Instructions

For a low resolution PDF copy of the competition book, please email Jesse Hunt

Each entry must include:

  1. A design proposal for binding Five Poems
    1. The design proposal should be mounted on 4-ply matboard, 32 inches by 20 inches.
    2. It should depict your design for the outside (front, back, spine), doublures or endpaper, and any unusual additional or decorative features.
    3. Any medium may be used in making your proposal, which should be finished suitably for exhibit. Include swatches of all materials you would intend to use in a final binding.
    4. Your depiction may be smaller than the actual book, but reduced no more than 50%.
    5. Your name should appear only on the back of the design board. Below is an example of a proposal from the 2018 competition:

    James Reid-Cunningham

    Award-winning proposal from James Reid-Cunningham, 2018 DeGolyer competition


  2. An example binding.
    1. The example binding should be one of your completed works that reflects your current level of craftsmanship as well as techniques you have proposed in your design for Five Poems.
    2. Please send your example binding within an enclosure such as a phase-box, slipcase, or drop-spine box.

  3. The Competition Submission Form (please complete all the required fields and submit before mailing your entry).

Submitting your entry:

  1. Ship your entry via FED EX or UPS to:
  2. Bridwell Library
    Attn: Mr. Jesse Hunt
    6005 Bishop Boulevard
    Dallas, Texas 75205

  3. You are welcome to drop off your entry, please make arrangements by contacting Jesse Hunt.

Returning your entry:

  1. If you ship your entry to Bridwell Library we will return it by FED EX or UPS, unless you request otherwise.
  2. If you wish to pick up your entry, please make arrangements by contacting Jesse Hunt.
  3. Each return shipment of an example binding will be insured up to $500 in value.

2021 Awards

Helen Warren DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding
Awarded to a binder whose entry demonstrates the ability to create an exceptional binding for Five Poems.

  • $6000 commission

Award for Excellence in Fine Binding
Recognizes a completed binding distinguished by its structure, technique, and use of materials.

  • $2000 prize

Award for Design
Recognizes a design distinguished as an inventive, effective, and appropriate representation of Five Poems.

  • $1000 prize

2021 Competition

Helen Warren DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding

The bookbinding competition will be open until December 1, 2021.

2022 Conference

The Helen Warren DeGolyer Bookbinding Conference

The conference is scheduled to be held on the campus of SMU in Dallas on May 19 and 20, 2022. Lectures and workshops led by noted binders and book artists will be offered.