Massachusetts Historical Society Fellowships

Important information for 2021-2022 Fellowship Cycle

As a result of ongoing public health concerns, the MHS is cautioning all applicants that the terms of research fellowships during the 2021-2022 cycle are subject to change. In an effort to make funding available to scholars during these difficult times, the MHS will accept applications for the upcoming year. However, please note that the terms of awarded fellowships may have temporary restrictions. We strongly encourage all applicants to carefully review their application questions well in advance of the deadline and to reach out with any questions or concerns.

The reading room at the MHS has been closed since March of 2020. Our library staff are currently offering expanded reproduction services to allow for the remote completion of fellowships. We cannot predict when researchers will have on-site access to our collections. Additionally, the MHS anticipates an increased demand for reading room access upon re-opening, which may extend research restrictions past the current health crisis.

The MHS reserves the right to offer entirely remote fellowships, to offer deferred fellowships, to restrict research visits to appointment schedules or certain months, or any other such restrictions as are necessary during, and in the wake of Covid. Please note that our application has evolved to include additional questions about your ability to complete remote research, including whether the collections you wish to examine are already digitized, if you would be willing to complete a fellowship through library-provided reproductions, or if you require partial or full on-site access.  Applicants must be more specific than ever about their proposed research and how they plan to execute their work if funded. Note that preference will still be given to the strongest applications. The additional information collected will help determine the terms each award during these unusual times.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Research Department Coordinator, Katy Morris (kmorris@masshist.org) with any additional questions or concerns.

The Four Fellowship Programs

The Massachusetts Historical Society now offers multiple awards to scholars who need to use its library and archival collections. The research projects that the MHS supports through its fellowship programs produce cutting-edge historical scholarship. In addition, the MHS facilitates the visits of scholars in residence at the MHS through the support of other funding agencies.

Each year, in addition to more than two dozen short-term fellowships, the Society helps to provide about the same number of New England Regional Fellowship Consortium grants for projects that draw on the resources of 26 participating research and cultural institutions. Thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent agency of the U.S. government, there will be at least two long-term MHS-NEH fellowships.

During their residence, MHS Research Fellows become part of a scholarly community that includes other current fellows, MHS staff, Boston-area scholars, and former fellows. They participate in "brown-bag" lunchtime programs, present their own research, attend seminars, and join MHS staff and other fellows for collegial lunches every Thursday at a neighborhood eatery.

MHS Short-term Fellowships

The MHS awards over 20 short-term fellowships annually, each of which provides a stipend for four weeks of research at the Society. Several of these fellowships are for research in specific topics or collections. The stipend is $2,000. Awards are open to advanced graduate students as well as scholars who have completed their professional training.

Suzanne and Caleb Loring Fellowship

Each year, the MHS and the Bostonian Athenaeum offer one Suzanne and Caleb Loring Fellowship on the Civil War, Its Origins, and Conequences, which carries a stipend of $4,000. The recipient will conduct research for at least four weeks at each institution.

New England Regional Fellowship Consortium

This collaboration of 30 major cultural agencies, including the MHS, awards approximately two dozen fellowships annually, each of which carries a stipend of $5,000. Each recipient will conduct research for a total of at least eight weeks at three or more participating institutions.

IMPORTANT: Please see the NERFC website for news regarding access to the Boston Public Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Department.

MHS-NEH Long-term Fellowships

The MHS awards at least two long-term MHS-NEH fellowships annually, for a minimum of four months and a maximum of 12 months. The NEH stipend is $5,000 per month in 2019-2020. The MHS provides a supplement to assist with professional and housing expenses. Applicants must have completed their professional training and be U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who have lived in the United States for at least three years immediately preceding the application deadline.

Publications: Our Legacy of Scholarship

Since 1985, the MHS has awarded more than 875 fellowships. These research projects have resulted in more than 470 publications, including more than 160 books!

Researchers Funded by Other Agencies

The MHS has been pleased to welcome researchers whose tenure has been underwritten by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), Fulbright Fellowship Program, and Germany's Deutscher Akademischer Austasch Dienst (DAAD).

Fellows Alumni

The MHS continues to maintain professional relationships with, and extend benefits to, former fellows. Many alumni choose to support the mission of the Society by returning to the MHS to deliver programs or serve on committees.

Upcoming Events

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar; Online Event

Caribbean Connections – Panel Discussion

1Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

This panel brings together the work of two historians investigating the Caribbean. Casey Schmitt’s paper explores the intersection of warfare and human trafficking ...

African American History Seminar; Online Event

Emancipation In America, Seen Through One Man's Dreadlocks

3Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

1864. A ship leaves its New England port carrying a USCT regiment to fight Confederates on the Louisiana front. But on the way, a showdown takes place when Pvt. John ...

Author Talk; Online Event

Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic

7Dec 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

Before Civil War greenbacks and a national bank network established a uniform federal currency in the United States, loosely regulated banks saturated the early American ...

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Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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