Barra Fellowship

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Barra Fellowship

The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania jointly offer two one-month fellowships annually to support research in residence in their collections by foreign national scholars of early American history and culture living outside the United States. The fellowships are funded by the Barra Foundation, Inc.

The stipend is $2,500, plus an allowance for travel expences. The fellowships support both postdoctoral and dissertation research. The project proposal should demonstrate that the Library Company and the Historical Society have primary sources central to the research topic. Candidates are encouraged to inquire about the appropriateness of a proposed topic before applying. The fellowships are tenable for one month at any time from June to May. 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 nonresident fellows at all hours.


Current Fellows

  • Dr. Naomi Billingsley, The John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester, Benjamin West, Biblical Illustration, and the Macklin Bible
  • Dr. Russell Palmer, Francke Foundations, Halle, Cheap ’n’ Cheerful Paper Covers: An Empirical Study of Paste Papers (Kleisterpapiere) Held at the Library Company of Philadelphia

Past Fellows


  • Dr. Valérie Capdeville, Department of Literature, Language, Humanities, and Social Science, University of Paris 13, The British Club in the Colonial Empire (1700–1850): Construction, Exportation and Growth of a Model of Urban Sociability


  • Dr. Esther Sahle, Department of History, University of Bremen, A Faith of Merchants: Quakers and Institutional Change in the Early Modern Atlantic
  • Hannah Young, PhD Candidate in History, University College London, The Johnstons: Family, Property, and the Atlantic World


  • Dr. Nathalie Caron, Department of American Studies, University of Paris, "Freeing the Mind from the Shackles of Religion": The Significance of the French Philosophes' Philosophy for American Freethought
  • Dr. Justin Roberts, Department of History, Dalhousie University, A Swarm of People: The Barbadian Diaspora and the Expansion of the English Atlantic, 1640–1690


  • Dr. Volker Depkat, Department of English and American Studies, University of Regensburg, The Visualization of Legitimacy in Founding Situations: A Transatlantic Approach to Political Visual Cultures
  • Brett Goodin, PhD Candidate in History, Australian National University, Victims of American Independence: A Collective Biography of Barbary Captives and American Nation-building, 1770–1840


  • Dr. Nicholas Guyatt, Department of History, University of York; The Scale of Beings and the Prehistory of “Separate but Equal”
  • Austen Saunders, PhD Candidate in Literature, University of Cambridge; American Readers’ Manuscript Marks in the Collections of the Library Company of Philadelphia (c.1640–1830)


  • Dr. Frances M. Clarke, Department of History, University of Sydney; Minors in the Military: A History of Child Soldiers in America from the Revolution to the Civil War
  • Dr. Zhang Tao, American Studies, Research Center, Sichuan International Studies University; Confucius in Early America's Imagination of China


  • Dr. Gesa Mackenthun, Department of American Studies, Rostock University, Germany: Mesoamerican Antiquities and the Transnational Birth of Archaeology

  • Dr. David Lambert, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London: Mobility, Race and Power in the Caribbean, ca.1780ca.1880


  • Dr. John Richard Oldfield, Department of History, University of Southampton: International Abolitionism in the Age of Revolution, 17871815
  • Dr. David Worrall, Department of English, Nottingham Trent University: British Theatre in Colonial and New Republic America; with Particular Reference to British Military Theatricals and the Mischianza, Philadelphia, 1778


  • Daniel Peart, PhD Candidate in History, University College, London: Popular Engagement with Politics in the United States during the Early 1820s
  • Dr. Gregory Smithers, School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, University of Aberdeen: Orphans of Freedom: African American Children and "Colored Orphanages," 18301930s


  • Dr. Holger Hoock, Department of Cultural History, University of Liverpool: A Social and Cultural Study of Violence and Terror in the War of American Independence
  • Dr. Ben Marsh, Department of History, University of Stirling: Sericulture in the Atlantic World, ca. 1500ca. 1800


  • Dr. Matthew Pethers, King’s College London: Revolutionary Politics and the American Theater, 17501800
  • Dr. Maurizio Valsania, Department of History, University of Torino:  The Curse of History: Leader's Distrust of American History, 17831828


  • Dr. Lucy Frank, Department of English, Warwick University: Suturing the Nation: The Politics of Mourning in Postbellum America (18611886)
  • Dr. Francois Weil, Director, Centre d'études nord-américaines, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales: Family Trees: A Cultural History of Genealogy in America


  • Dr. Kate Davies, Department of English, University of York: Women, Letters, and the Atlantic World, 17601840
  • Dr. Simon Newman, Department of History, University of Glasgow: The Transformation of Working Life and Culture in the British Atlantic World, 16001800