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Mellon Scholars Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia’s Program in African American History

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The Library Company of Philadelphia’s Program in African American History (PAAH), with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is pleased to announce the Mellon Scholars Program of fellowships, internships, and workshop for 2016-2017. These competitive programs are designed to increase the participation of scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and others in the field of African American history prior to 1900.

The Mellon Scholars Fellowship Program aims to promote research in the collections of the Library Company and to enhance the production of scholarly work in African American history of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Fellows are expected to conduct the majority of their research in the Library Company’s collections but may also use the collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Fellows must be in residence for the entire term of the award. The following research fellowships will be offered for 2016-2017:

  • Post-doctoral fellowship, with a stipend of $50,000, is tenable from September 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017. The award may be divided between two applicants, each of whom would receive $25,000 for the period September 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017 or January 15, 2017 to May 31, 2017. Recent recipients of the Ph.D. as well as senior scholars may apply, but applicants must hold a Ph.D. by September 1, 2016; application deadline November 1, 2015, with a decision to be made by December 15.
  • Dissertation fellowship, with a stipend of $25,000, is tenable from September 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017. The award may be divided between two applicants, each of whom would receive $12,500 for the period September 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017 or January 15, 2017 to May 31, 2017. Applicants must be in the later stages of research or writing; application deadline March 1, 2016, with a decision to be made by April 15.
  • Short-term fellowships, for doctoral candidates and senior scholars, with a stipend of $2,500 for one month of research between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017; application deadline March 1, 2016, with a decision to be made by April 15.

Application procedures for Fellowships: Eligible candidates may apply for both a short-term and either a dissertation or post-doctoral fellowship. To apply, go to www.librarycompany.org/fellowships; fill out an online coversheet and upload a single PDF document containing a brief résumé and a two- to four-page description of the proposed research. Applicants for short-term fellowships should also have one letter of recommendation sent under separate cover in PDF format. Applicants for post-doctoral and dissertation fellowships should include a writing sample of no more than 25 pages and should have two letters of reference sent under separate cover in PDF format. If you wish to apply for more than one fellowship, simply check more than one box on your electronic cover sheet. For general information about the Library Company’s fellowship program, contact James Green via telephone (215) 546-3181, fax (215) 546-5167, or e-mail jgreen@librarycompany.org. For more information about the Mellon Scholars Program, contact Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Program Director, at era@udel.edu.

The Mellon Scholars Internship Program is a four-week summer program (June 6 through June 30, 2016) that provides potential scholars of early African American history with experience in original archival research, guidance on applying to graduate school and developing research agendas, and exposure to the work of research libraries.


The internship will have three components: guided primary source research in the Library Company’s African Americana Collection culminating in the production of a research paper and a capstone colloquium; a special project such as cataloging or creating an annotated bibliography of items in our collection; and professional development through workshops on the graduate school application process, mentoring by established scholars, networking, and field trips to local repositories.
Interns will be rising seniors or recent college graduates and will receive a $1,500 stipend and an allowance for room, board, and travel to and from Philadelphia. Application deadline: March 1, 2016, with a decision to be made by April 15.


The Mellon Scholars Summer Workshop is a one-week professional development program (June 13 through June 17, 2016) designed to prepare students for the transition to graduate study and for conducting independent research in early African American history archival collections. Program activities will include research talks, CV-building, an introduction to the African Americana holdings at the Library Company and at area repositories, training in the creation of competitive fellowship and graduate program applications, and mentoring and networking with African American history scholars.
Workshop participants will be recent college graduates or students in their first years of graduate study and will receive a small stipend to cover the cost of travel, room, and board. Application deadline: March 1, 2016, with a decision to be made by April 15.


Application procedures for Internships and Workshop: Eligible candidates may apply for both the workshop and the internship. If you wish to apply for more than one summer program, simply check more than one box on your electronic cover sheet. To apply:

  • Go to http://www.librarycompany.org/paah/fellowships.htm; fill out an online coversheet and upload a single PDF document containing a résumé and a 500-750-word personal statement describing future goals and how the internship or workshop would further those goals.
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the applicant’s academic work should be sent to fellowships@librarycompany.org.
  • In addition, official undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) school transcripts should be mailed to: Library Company of Philadelphia, Attn: Mellon Scholars Internship and Workshop Committee, 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Following the application deadline, internship and workshop applicants will be contacted to schedule a short Skype interview. For more information about the Mellon Scholars Program and application guidelines, contact Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Program Director, at era@udel.edu.