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.

The Program in Visual Culture Terra Foundation Fellowships for Research on American Popular Graphic Arts

The Terra Foundation Fellowships support research in visual materials from the American popular graphic arts collections. The collection contains prints, photographs, drawings, and ephemera created between the 18th and 20th centuries in multiple aesthetic styles and by a wide range of artists, including Charles Willson Peale, John Sartain, Frederick De Bourg Richards, and Jessie Wilcox Smith. We welcome applicants from a range of disciplines, including, and not limited to scholars, studio artists, curators, conservators, and digital humanists.

Applications for 2022–23 Terra Foundation Fellowships have closed.


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

To apply, fill out the online application form and upload a single PDF file containing a brief CV and a two- to four-page 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 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 (