Short-Term Fellowships

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 advanced research. The stipend for a short-term fellowship is $2,000, except as noted below. Fellowships are tenable for any 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 Offered by the Library Company of Philadelphia
  • The Library Company’s Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) offers several 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 Scholar fellowships (which carry a special stipend of $2,500) to support research in that field for doctoral candidates, PhD holders, and 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. Fellows are expected to conduct the majority of their research in the Library Company’s collections but may also use the collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
  • 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 Charles E. Rosenberg Fellowship in the History of Health and Medicine (new in 2022–23) supports research in those fields broadly defined. Scholars who wish to use the collections of the Library Company, the Legacy Center of Drexel University’s College of Medicine, and/or other relevant local collections are encouraged to apply, as are those interested in the history of gender and health or medicine.
  • 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, which carries a special stipend of $2500, 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.
  • The Program in Visual Culture Terra Foundation Fellowships for Research on American Popular Graphic Arts (2 awards, each with a special stipend of $2500) will be offered in 2022 to support research in visual materials from the American popular graphic arts collections. The Terra fellowships are open to applicants from a range of disciplines, including scholars, studio artists, curators, conservators, and digital humanists.

Short-term Fellowships Offered 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 Library Company’s and/or HSP’s collections.
  • The Barra Foundation International Research Fellowships in American History and Culture (which carry a special stipend of $2,500 plus travel expenses up to $1000) are reserved for citizens of other countries living outside the U.S.
  • The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) Fellowships (two per year) support research in American history in the Early National period.
Short-Term Fellowships Offered by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • The Balch Institute Fellowships (two per year) 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.
  • The Richardson Dilworth Fellowship for Law, Politics, and Reform supports research on legal or political history, or on the history of reform movements.
  • The 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 Robert L. McNeil Jr. Fellowships (4 per year) support research in early American history.

The application period for 2022–23 fellowships has ended. Applications for 2023–24 fellowships will open later this year.

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 a brief CV and a description of your proposed research (single-spaced, not to exceed 1500 words). The proposal should make clear how Library Company and/or HSP 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

Candidates are encouraged to inquire about the appropriateness of the proposed topic before applying. For assistance in determining how the Library Company’s collections might support a particular project, contact Librarian Emily Guthrie ( Additional information is available from the following staff members: