Houghton Library supports research opening new perspectives on its collections.
The Visiting Fellowship program offers scholars at all stages of their careers funding to pursue projects that require in-depth research on the library’s holdings, as well as opportunities to draw on staff expertise and participate in intellectual life at Harvard.
Houghton provides fellows with access to other libraries at the University, and opportunities to exchange knowledge and promote their research through its publications, and scholarly and public programs.
Recent fellows' research topics speak to the breadth and depth of Houghton’s holdings—ranging from colonial-era Native American music to the collecting of Sanskrit manuscripts, and Iberian chivalric romances to celebrity pregnancy on the London stage.
Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse amount of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
The library particularly welcomes proposals that reexamine its collections through a global lens and/or demonstrate how the holdings of a rare book and manuscript library can contribute to discourse around contemporary social, political, and cultural issues. New fellowships on gender and sexuality studies in the performing arts, and early modern black lives underscore Houghton's commitment to diversifying perspectives on our collections.
- Fellows in the 2024–2025 cohort will receive a $4,500 stipend and are expected to be in residence at Houghton for four weeks within their fellowship year (July through June), though these do not have to be consecutive weeks.
- Fellows are responsible for paying taxes related to their award stipend.
- Fellows must finalize their visit dates prior to arrival. Reading room seating is limited; therefore, applicants’ first choice for arrival cannot be guaranteed.
- Fellows are required to produce a written summary of their experience working with the collections.
- Applicants must be 18 or older.
For an insight into the Visiting Fellowship experience at Houghton, visit our blog.
Thanks to the generosity of the library's benefactors, seventeen endowed fellowships support research in the following fields of study:
- Beatrice, Benjamin, and Richard Bader Fellowship in the Visual Arts of the Theatre
- W. Jackson Bate/ Douglas W. Bryant, American Society for Eighteenth‑Century Studies Fellowship; Successful applicants must either be an ASECS member in good standing or be willing to become a member in order to receive this fellowship.
- José María Castañé Fellowship in 20th-century History
- Maryette Charlton Fellowship for the Performing Arts; This fellowship is available to assist scholarly research on gender and sexuality in the performing arts.
- William Dearborn Fellowship in American History
- Rodney G. Dennis Fellowship in the Study of Manuscripts
- The Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellowship
- Eleanor M. Garvey Fellowship in Printing and Graphic Arts
- Houghton Mifflin Fellowship in Publishing History
- Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship for Research in Early Modern Black Lives, including Africa and the African Diaspora, 1500-1800
- Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship for the Study of Dr. Samuel Johnson and his Circle
- Joan Nordell Fellowship
- Katharine F. Pantzer Jr. Fellowship in Descriptive Bibliography; This fellowship carries a stipend of $4,500 per month, up to twelve months (maximum $43,200). Fellows are expected to be in residence at Houghton Library for the duration of the fellowship.
- The Theodore Roosevelt Association Fellowship for the Study of the Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt
- Howard D. Rothschild Fellowship in Dance
- Robert Gould Shaw Fellowship for the Harvard Theatre Collection
- John M. Ward Fellowship in Dance and Music for the Theatre
Fellows in the 2024–2025 cohort will receive stipends of $4,500 during the tenure of their appointment.
- Open to candidates of all nationalities. Non-U.S. citizens awarded a fellowship are required to obtain a J-1 visa. Harvard University can sponsor the visa, but fellows are responsible for paying associated fees and will receive their stipend 2-3 weeks after arriving at Houghton Library.
- Doctoral students, post-doctoral, academics and independent scholars, as well as curators, and other library, archive and museum professionals, are welcome to apply.
- Fellowships normally are not granted to scholars who live within commuting distance of the library.
- Scholars are welcome to apply each year. If awarded a fellowship, however, a period of 5 years must elapse before another fellowship may be awarded.
- We particularly welcome applications from students and scholars from underrepresented groups in academia, including women, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, first generation scholars, and persons with disabilities.
Applications are due January 19, 2024.
Applicants are asked to submit:
- a project proposal (1,000 words maximum)
- a preliminary list of Houghton collection materials
- note: applications that do not list materials held by Houghton Library will not be considered
- applicants should ensure that Houghton is the holding repository for collections they wish to consult
- a curriculum vitae
- one letter of reference
Please note: Other than the Pantzer Fellowship, applicants need not apply for specific fellowships. The Selection Committee will determine the fellowship best suited to each awardee.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to save applications in progress; do not submit your application until it is complete.