The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia jointly award approximately twenty-five one-month fellowships for research in residence in either or both collections during each academic year.
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 America and the Atlantic world, as well as mid-Atlantic regional history, from the 17th through the 20th centuries.
- The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, now enriched by the holdings of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, holds more than 19 million personal, organizational, and business manuscripts, as well 560,000 printed items and 312,000 graphic images concerning national and regional political, social, and family history. The Balch collections have added rich documentation of the ethnic and immigrant experience in the United States. Explore HSP's library catalog.
- The Library Company, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, was the largest public library in America until the latter part of the 19th century, and contains printed materials relating to every aspect of American culture and society in that period. It holds over half a million rare books and graphics, including the nation’s second largest collection of pre-1801 American imprints and one of the largest collections of 18th-century British books in America. Search LCP's catalog of its rare books and graphics.
Together the two institutions form one of the most comprehensive sources in the nation for the study of colonial and US history and culture. The Historical Society’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. The Historical Society’s archives 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 added 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.
The Library Company/Historical Society fellowship program began in 1987. It now has more than 550 “alumni.” View a list of past and current LCP/HSP fellows as well as LCP fellows and some of the publications that came out of their work in these collections.
Named HSP Fellowships
Named one-month fellowships support research in certain areas (applicants will automatically be considered for all pertinent fellowships):
- Two Barra Foundation International Fellowships (which carry a special stipend of $2,500 plus travel expenses) are reserved for citizens of other countries living outside the US
- Three Balch Institute Fellowships will 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
- One Albert M. Greenfield Fellowship will support research in HSP's collections on 20th-century American history
- One Esther Ann McFarland Fellowship in memory of Judge William Lewis will support 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
- Four Robert L. McNeil Jr. Fellowships will support research in early American history
- The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) sponsors two fellowships that support research in American history in the early national period.
The stipend is $2,000 ($2,500 for Barra Fellowships). Fellowships are tenable for any one-month period between June and May. They support advanced, post doctoral, and dissertation research. Candidates are strongly encouraged to inquire about the appropriateness of the proposed topic. The Library Company's Cassatt House fellows' residence offers rooms at reasonable rates, along with a kitchen, common room, and offices with internet access, available to resident and non-resident fellows at all hours.
The deadline for receipt of one-month fellowship applications is March 1, with a decision to be made by April 15. To apply, visit www.librarycompany.org/fellowships/shortterm.htm, fill out a required electronic cover sheet, and submit one portable document format (PDF) containing a résumé and a 2-4 page description of the proposed research. One letter of recommendation should arrive under separate cover in PDF format as well. Please email materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish you apply for more than one fellowship, simply check more than one box on your electronic cover sheet. For more information, contact Librarian Jim Green by telephone (215) 546-3181, fax (215) 546-5167, or e-mail. Or contact Tamara Gaskell, Director of Scholarly Programs at HSP, by telephone (215) 732-6200 x208 or email.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania participates in Philadelphia Center for the History of Science (PACHS) consortium, which offers short-term research fellowships, nine-month dissertation writing fellowships, and a postdoctoral fellowship for scholars in the history of science, technology, and medicine. PACHS fellows have access to events and activities at consortium member institutions as well as throughout Philadelphia’s vibrant academic and cultural communities.