Call for Best College/University Essays
Win one of four $100 gift card prizes!
Submit your best work by October 31, 2022.
The Special Collections and Digital Archives (SCDA) division of the Denver Public Library, which includes both the Western History and Genealogy Department (WHG) and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library (BCL), is sponsoring an essay contest open to all college and university undergraduate or graduate students in any discipline. Special Collections and Digital Archives seeks to:
- foster intellectual curiosity
- encourage the use of its physical and digital archives
- develop better writers and researchers
- promote its diverse collections by sponsoring a bilingual essay contest
Each essay contest winner will receive one of four prizes in the form of a $100 gift card that will be awarded as follows:
- best undergraduate essay written in English
- best undergraduate essay written in Spanish
- best graduate essay written in English
- best graduate essay written in Spanish
The winning essays will also be published and archived in the library's digital collection. Students are welcome to write an essay on any topic they please, as long as they consult and cite materials in the SCDA collection, such as the following:
- Spanish Archives of New Mexico (G978.902 N42sp 1982) microfilms
- Richard T. Castro Papers (WH2440)
- William Frederick Cody / Buffalo Bill Papers (WH72)
- Photographs in the 10th Mountain Division Digitized Photographs (TMD351) collection
- Or a rare book such as The Birds of America (598.2 A916biL) by James Audubon, published in 1860
Students may do their research online or in-person. Not all collections are online — students are welcome and encouraged to visit the library in person. During the remodeling of Central Library, a temporary SCDA reading room is available on the first floor with tables, chairs, microfilm readers, book scanners, and a photocopy machine. The temporary reading room is available Sunday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Monday to Thursday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Free parking is available on Sunday only.
Are you interested but not sure where to start, what to research, or how to use primary sources? Visit the reading room and talk to a friendly archivist or librarian to get started! Spanish-speaking staff are available on Wednesdays.
Essay Contest Details
- Submissions open until October 31, 2022
- Deadline: all essays must be submitted by 11:59 pm Mountain time on October 31, 2022
- Winners will be announced in December 2022
- Essays will be blind-read and the grading rubric is available here
- Students must submit essays using their .edu email account
- Essays written in English or Spanish are welcome
- All judging decisions are final
- Cover page must include: essay title, student name, college or university name, email address, and date (no identifying information should be included in the body of the essay)
- Citations style: APA or Chicago
- Essay length: between 3 to 5 pages in length, not including title page or bibliography
- Double-spaced essays should be written in 12 point Arial, Times New Roman, or Garamond font
- Essays should be free of grammar, punctuation, and other errors
- Spanish papers shall be written with correct grammar, capitalization, diacritics, and punctuation specific to that language, such as: miércoles, Río Grande, María de los Ángeles Núñez, estadounidenses, Nuevo México, etc.
Submit essays here.
Questions? Click here.
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