MARAC Arline Custer Memorial Award Committee

The Arline Custer Memorial Award Committee was established by a vote of the membership in October 1976 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to honor the memory of Arline Custer, former MARAC member and editor of the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, who died in 1975.

The committee has developed a comprehensive Custer Committee Handbook (PDF) to help guide its work.


The Custer Committee awards prizes honoring books, exhibition catalogues, and articles by an individual, individuals, or an institution in the states comprising MARAC. The awards winners are announced annually at a MARAC meeting.


The Custer Committee consists of six (6) members who each serve for a term of three (3) years. Two (2) are elected each year by the MARAC membership. The elected member receiving the most votes becomes the Junior Co-chair of the Finding Aids Committee in their second year of service. The Junior Co-chair shall become the Senior Co-chair in their third year of service. The MARAC Chair shall fill any vacancies on the Committee.

The Custer Committee accepts submissions or nominations of books, exhibition catalogues, and articles for the Arline Custer Memorial Award. Multiple submissions are accepted. Publications submitted for the award must have appeared between July 1 and the June 30 deadline for submissions.

Entries are reviewed independently by the Custer Committee members and the results are sent to the Committee Chair. The Custer Committee usually conducts its work by mail or telephone although the Committee Chair may convene a meeting should it be necessary to reach agreement on the awards. The awards are decided by a majority vote of the Committee members. Committee members affiliated with an institution that submits entries for the awards should abstain from voting on the submission.

Entries are judged on scholarship, relevancy, innovativeness, quality of writing, and presentation and layout.

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