The Library Company of Philadelphia Fellowships

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 (most available to researchers at any level), and Innovation Fellowships (subject-specific fellowships open to scholars and creative practitioners). 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 fellowships are co-sponsored by 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 print, graphics, and manuscript collections of the Library Company and other local institutions. Fellows have an opportunity to present their work-in-progress through weekly colloquia.

The Library Company’s Cassatt House fellows’ residence offers several rooms at reasonable rates, along with a kitchen and a shared office space.

The fellowship program began in 1987 and now has more than 1,100 alumni. A list of former 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 this fellowship 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, ASECS, and William H. Helfand.

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