"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
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Research fellowship and awards

Are you interested in conducting research in our library? We know extensive research requires a lot of time spent in a library and at times the cost of traveling for research can add up quickly. To help scholars with their research and travel expenses, the Virginia Historical Society offers several fellowships and awards.

Learn about the different types of fellowships and awards we offer and who is eligible to apply below.

Fellowships

To promote the interpretation of Virginia history and access to its collections, the Virginia Historical Society, funded by a matching grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and gifts from individuals, offers fellowships of up to three weeks a year. For the purpose of this program, a week is defined as five days in the VHS library, which is open 10 to 5, Monday through Saturday.

There are three general categories of fellowships:

  • Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowships cover the broad sweep of Virginia and American history, for example, supporting research on political, constitutional, religious, African American, military, and social issues.

  • The Betty Sams Christian Fellowships in business history cover studies in economic history, trade, industrial and commercial subjects, and labor relations.

  • The Frances Lewis Fellowships in Gender and Women's Studies support work in gender roles and the history of women.

(Please note that the selection committee will determine the category of your award)

We confer fellowships on the basis of the applicants' scholarly qualifications, the merits of their proposals, and the appropriateness of their topics, as demonstrated by citation to specific sources in our collections. Applicants whose research promises to result in significant publication, including the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, will receive primary consideration.

Because the program is designed to help defray travel expenses, residents of the Richmond metropolitan area are not eligible for fellowships. We offer a few grants ($150 per week) for mileage to commuting researchers who live outside that area. The majority of fellowships ($500 per week) go to those who live farther away and incur greater expenses. We expect recipients to work on a regular basis in our reading room during the period of their fellowships. We welcome applications from doctoral candidates. Undergraduates, master's students, and graduate students not yet admitted to Ph.D. candidacy are not eligible.

Applicants should send an original and three copies of the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation (which may be sent to jmcclure@vahistorical.org)
  • Description of their research project not longer than two double-spaced pages that also states the length of the grant requested.

The deadline for applications to be received by the VHS is Friday, January 30, 2015; grants will be announced by Friday, March 13, 2015. The committee will confer partial fellowships and will consider reapplications. For repeat fellowships, the maximum number is limited to four within a ten-year period.

Awards

In addition to fellowships, the VHS offers two research awards for which applications will be received throughout the calendar year while funding remains available.

  • The Guy Kinman Award is made possible by the Gay Community Center of Richmond and supports work on such topics as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, civil rights, and First Amendment issues.

  • The Reese Award in American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas covers literary studies, the evolution of book publication, and bibliography.

Both the Guy Kinman and Reese awards ($500 per award) are open to residents of central Virginia as well as researchers who live beyond commuting distance. As with fellowships, recipients of awards are expected to conduct research in our reading room during the tenure of their grants.

Applicants should send an original and three copies of the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation (which may be sent to jmcclure@vahistorical.org)
  • Description of their research project not longer than two double-spaced pages that also states the length of the grant requested.

Both the Guy Kinman and Reese awards are open-ended: there is no deadline, and the award committee evaluates applications as they are received.

Founded in 1831, the VHS is a private, nonprofit, educational institution supported by membership dues and endowment. Its wealth of cataloged materials includes books, paintings, photographs, maps, broadsides, newspapers, artifacts, and more than eight million manuscripts.

Send applications for both fellowships and awards to:

Frances S. Pollard
Chair, Research Fellowships and Awards Committee
Virginia Historical Society
P.O. Box 7311
Richmond, VA 23221-0311

Telephone: 804.342.9686
Fax: 804.355.2399
Email: fpollard@vahistorical.org