The inaugural first prize went to Matthew Wills of La Jolla, a PhD candidate in modern Chinese history at UC San Diego, whose collection centered on anti-Confucian propaganda during the founding years of the People’s Republic of China. “[As an] historian and bibliographer, I research the history of book publishing and propaganda in Chairman Mao’s China,” Wills said in a statement. “In particular, I study books that show the Communist state’s hostility to China’s Confucian traditions.” Will’s winning collection totaled over 700 items, with editions in different languages including Braille, and comic books. Nate Pedersen interviewed Wills for FB&C on the eve of his win last February.
The first-place winner receives a gift certificate of $500 to spend at the 2020 California International Antiquarian Book Fair where the winner’s collection will be on display, a year’s membership to the Book Club of California, the Bibliographical Society of America, and a year’s subscription to both The Book Collector and Fine Books & Collections.