The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania offer many opportunities for support in the form of one-month fellowships for research in residence in either or both institutions.
These two independent research libraries, adjacent to each other in Center City Philadelphia, have complementary collections capable of supporting research in a variety of fields and disciplines relating to the history of the United States and the Atlantic world from the 17th through the 19th centuries, as well as Mid-Atlantic regional history to the present.
Short-term fellowships support dissertation, postdoctoral, and independent research. The stipend is $2,500 for a one-month period between June 1 and May 31.
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.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), holds more than 19 million personal, organizational, and business manuscripts as well 500,000 printed items and 300,000 graphic images concerning national and regional political, social, and family history. The collections of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, now held by HSP, include rich documentation of the ethnic and immigrant experience in the United States. Information about HSP’s holdings is available here.
Together the two institutions form one of the most comprehensive sources in the nation for the study of colonial and U.S. history and culture. HSP’s strength in manuscripts complements the Library Company’s strength in printed materials. The Library Company’s collections reflect the whole range of early American print culture, including books, pamphlets, and magazines from all parts of the country, as well as books imported from Britain and the Continent. HSP’s archival collections richly document the social, cultural, and economic history of a region central to many aspects of the nation’s development. The Balch Institute collections bring the HSP new strength in documenting ethnic and immigrant history, with significant holdings of ethnic newspapers, records of benevolent societies and other local and national ethnic organizations, and personal papers of prominent leaders in ethnic and immigrant communities. Both collections are strong in local newspapers and printed ephemera; the print and photograph collections of both libraries are rich in images of the Philadelphia region and graphics by local artists. The two libraries combined have extraordinary strength in the history of women and African Americans, popular literature, business and banking, popular medicine, philanthropy and reform, education, natural sciences, technology, art, architecture, German Americana, American Judaica, and a host of other subjects.
Short-term Fellowships Awarded by the Library Company of Philadelphia
- The Library Company’s Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) offers short-term fellowships to support research into the origins and development of the early American economy, broadly conceived, to roughly 1850. The fellowships provide researchers the opportunity to investigate such topics as history of commerce, finance, technology, manufacturing, agriculture, internal improvements, and economic policy making.
- The Library Company’s Program in African American History offers four short-term Mellon Scholars Research Fellowships for doctoral candidates, PhD holders, or independent scholars. The Mellon Scholars program is designed to increase the participation of scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and others in the field of African American history prior to 1900.
- The Davida T. Deutsch Fellowship in Women’s History (offered by the Davida T. Deutsch Program in Women’s History) supports research on any aspect of women’s history documented in the Library Company’s collections.
- William Reese Company Fellowship in American Bibliography supports research in American bibliography and the history of the book in the Americas.
- The McLean Contributionship Fellowship may be awarded to support research in the history of botany, garden history, or newspaper publishing.
- The William H. Helfand Fellowship for American Medicine, Science, and Society supports research in that subject area to 1900.
- The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Fellowship supports research on projects related to the 18th-century Atlantic world.
- The William H. Helfand Fellowship for American Visual Culture supports research on pictorial imagery in printed and graphic works from the colonial era to the early 20th century.
- The Anthony N.B. and Beatrice Garvan Fellowship in American Material Culture supports research in that subject area.
Short-term Fellowships Awarded Jointly by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowships support research in any area of the collection of the Library Company’s and/or the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- The Barra Foundation International Research Fellowships in American History and Culture (which carries a stipend of $2,500 plus travel expenses up to $1,000) are reserved for citizens of other countries living outside the U.S.
- The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) Fellowship supports research in American history in the Early National period.
- The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Richardson Dilworth Fellowship for Law, Politics, and Reform supports research on legal or political history, or on the history of reform movements.
- The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Esther Ann McFarland Fellowship supports research in either 17th-century Pennsylvania history (with a preference for research on New Sweden or on the influence of early Swedish settlers) or in the history of African Americans in Pennsylvania.
- The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Robert L. McNeil Jr. Fellowships support research in early American history.
Short-Term Fellowships Awarded by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- The Balch Institute Fellowships support research in the HSP/Balch collections on the ethnic and immigrant experience in the United States and/or American cultural, social, political, or economic history post-1875.
- The Albert M. Greenfield Short-Term Fellowship supports research in 20th-century history.
- The Indian Rights Association Fellowship funds work in the field of Native American Studies. Applicants must demonstrate a need to conduct research in the Indian Rights Association records.
Applications for 2023–24 short-term fellowships are now open The submission deadline has been extended to FEBRUARY 1, 2023.
Applicants should submit a single application to be considered for all short-term fellowships offered by the Library Company of Philadelphia and/or the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
To apply, fill out the online application form and upload a single PDF file containing the following elements:
- a brief CV
- a ca. 150-word project abstract
- a description of your proposed research (single-spaced, not to exceed 1,500 words)
The proposal should make clear how Library Company and/or Historical Society of Pennsylvania collections will support your research. Application files should be named using this format: Lastname_Firstname_application.
In addition, one letter of recommendation in PDF format should be uploaded here; please ask your recommender to name file using this format: Lastname_Firstname_letter. Letters should be tailored to the application.
For more information
For assistance in determining how the Library Company’s collections might support a particular project, contact Librarian Emily Guthrie (firstname.lastname@example.org). Additional information is available from the following staff members:
- General information about fellowships and application procedures: Fellowships Manager Christine Nelson (email@example.com).
- HSP fellowships and collections: HSP’s Scholarly Programs Manager Christina Larocco (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- PEAES award: PEAES Program Director Dr. Cathy Matson (email@example.com)
- PAAH award: PAAH Program Director Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Visual Culture Program (VCP) awards: VCP Program Director Erika Piola (email@example.com)
- Women’s History award: Librarian Emily Guthrie (firstname.lastname@example.org)