The Library Company of Philadelphia Fellowships Program

Applications for 2024-25 fellowships will open later this year.

The Library Company, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 and located in Center City Philadelphia, holds over half a million rare books and graphics that are capable of supporting research in a variety of fields and disciplines relating to the history of the United States and the Atlantic world in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The holdings include the nation’s second largest collection of pre-1801 American imprints and one of the largest collections of 18th-century British books in America. Information about the subject strengths of the collections can be found here.

Several categories of research support are available: postdoctoral and dissertation fellowships (one-semester or full academic year), one-month research fellowships, and occasional special opportunities (e.g., subject- or collection-specific fellowships). Some fellowships are designated for the study of specific topics (e.g., African American history, women’s history, medical history, and economy and society) while others are open to applicants who wish to draw on any area of the Library’s Company’s collections.

Many short-term fellowships are awarded in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which is located in adjacent quarters on Locust Street, and fellows are encouraged to make use of both institutions’ holdings.

Fellows share opportunities to participate in the Philadelphia region’s vibrant intellectual life while conducting research in the Library Company’s print, graphics, manuscript, and art and artifacts collections. Fellows have an opportunity to present their work-in-progress at informal colloquia and to spend time with each other in the Cassatt House, an adjacent townhouse with shared spaces for gathering.

The fellowship program began in 1987 and now has more than a thousand alumni. A list of past fellows and their topics is available here, along with a list of publications resulting from their fellowship research. Fellowship alumni frequently return to the Library Company to present their work; see our YouTube page for archived programs and visit the Events page on our website to learn about upcoming programs.

Generous support for the Library Company’s Fellowships Program has been provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, the Barra Foundation, the McLean Contributionship, William Reese Company, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Terra Foundation, and the following individuals: Davida T. Deutsch, Drew Gilpin Faust, Beatrice Garvan, the late William H. Helfand, Louise M. and Peter J. Kelly, Randall M. Miller, Steven J. Peitzman, Laura Rosenberg, Jessica Rosenberg, Leah Rosenberg, John C. and Christine K. Van Horne, and several anonymous donors.

For additional funding opportunities to work at the Library Company, please also see research fellowships offered by the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.