Yale University Library News

Heather O'Donnell '00 Ph.D. will give 2018 Van Sinderen Lecture

illustration of figures in a cave
October 26, 2018

Heather O’Donnell '00 Ph.D., founder of Honey & Wax Booksellers  and creator of the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize for women under age 30, will deliver the 2018 Adrian Van Sinderen Lecture on Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m. at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Her topic will be "Scouts, Spies, and Surveyors: The Collectors of the Future."

The annual lecture honors Adrian Van Sinderen, class of 1910, who in 1957 established two annual book collecting prizes for Yale undergraduates. Van Sinderen sought to encourage undergraduates to collect books, build their own libraries, and read for pleasure and education. 
Heather O'Donnell grew up in the library stacks and bookstore aisles of suburban Delaware. In 1989, she moved to New York City, where she studied English at Columbia, and held down a series of bookish jobs on the side: working the cash register at the Strand, shelving photobooks in the Avery Library, sifting the slush pile at Grand Street.

While writing her doctoral dissertation in the Yale English department, she worked as a curatorial assistant at the Beinecke Library. From 2001 to 2004, she joined the Princeton Society of Fellows, then left academia to pursue the rare book trade full-time. For seven years, she worked as a bookseller in the New York gallery of Bauman Rare Books, dealing in a wide range of material, from incunabula to modern firsts. In the fall of 2011, she founded Honey & Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn. The Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize is an annual prize for an outstanding book collection conceived and built by a woman under the age of 30. 

O'Donnell is a member of the Grolier Club, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), and a graduate of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar and Rare Book School. She serves on the ABAA Board of Governors, the faculty of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, and the vetting committee of the New York Winter Antiques Show.

The lecture is free and open to the public.