Visual Culture Program Fellowships

Fellows in the Visual Culture Program have studied topics as varied as the relationship between text and images in American primers for children, the graphic arts in Philadelphia from 1780 to 1880, and the intersection of science and art in the production of daguerreotypes. Visit this page for more information about the Library Company’s fellowship program.

The William H. Helfand Fellowship for American Visual Culture

The fellowship is designed to promote scholarship in visual culture through the study of textual and graphic sources from the 16th through early 20th centuries held in the Library Company’s collections. Possible research topics include the production and consumerism of printed graphics; the histories of printing and photographic processes; popular iconography; ephemera; incunabula; the illustrated book trade; and historical depictions of gender, race, and class. Fellows will have the opportunity to attend the Library Company’s public programs and events, participate in the vibrant scholarly community of Philadelphia, and present a lecture about their research.

The stipend is $2500 for a one-month fellowship, which may be fulfilled between June 1 and May 31.


Applications for 2023–24 fellowships have closed. Applications for 2024–25 fellowships will open later this year.

To apply, fill out the online application form and upload a single PDF file containing a brief CV, a ca. 150-word project abstract, and a two- to four-page 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 files using this format: Lastname_Firstname_letter.

For more information

For more information about fellowships offered by the Library Company’s Visual Culture Program, contact program director Erika Piola (  For general information about fellowships and application procedures, contact the Library Company’s Fellowships Manager, Christine Nelson (