The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) was founded in 1791 for the threefold purpose of collecting, preserving, and disseminating resources for the study of American history. It was the first institution anywhere to devote its attention primarily to collecting and publishing in the field.
Today the society’s manuscripts form the centerpiece of its holdings. It has more than 12,000,000 manuscript items in thousands of collections of personal papers and institutional records. These holdings cover such diverse subjects as the history of religion, law, education, and medicine; diplomacy and international commerce; the American Revolution and the Civil War; and Native American and women’s history. Although collections on the history of New England and in the period from colonization through the late 19th century are especially strong, the society also has significant materials for the study of the West Indies, Latin America, the China trade, and the 20th century.
The society’s collection of published items complements its manuscript holdings. Printed materials include broadsides, 18th- and 19th-century pamphlets, and maps. The society also owns microforms and historic photographs as well as major collections of portraits, engravings, silhouettes, busts, and memorabilia.
The staff does all it can to make the MHS a friendly, welcoming place for researchers. MHS-NEH fellows join a community that includes active scholars on the staff as well as more than thirty visiting scholars on short-term grants over the course of a typical year. A busy calendar of programs affords frequent opportunities to meet with scholars from across New England. The society hosts or co-hosts five ongoing seminar series—in early American history, immigration and urban history, the history of women and gender, environmental history, and biography—as well as frequent brown-bag lunches at which fellows and other researchers discuss their work. Many years the MHS also holds a major conference; in April 2015 the society hosted "'So Sudden an Alteration': The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the American Revolution."
The Massachusetts Historical Society will award at least two long-term MHS-NEH fellowships for the academic year 2016-2017. The stipend will be $4,200 per month for a minimum of four months and a maximum of 12 months. Applicants must specify the number of months for which they are applying. Tenure must be continuous. The Society will supplement each stipend with a housing allowance of up to $500 per month plus an allowance for professional expenses. MHS-NEH fellowships are open to U.S. citizens and to foreign nationals who have lived in the United States for at least three years immediately preceding the application deadline.
Prospective fellows must have completed their training for the terminal degree in their field (ordinarily the Ph.D.) by the application deadline. NEH-sponsored fellowships are not available to graduate students. The awards committee will pay special attention both to the quality of proposed projects and to their relationship to the Society's collections. It will give preference to candidates who have not held a long-term grant during the three years prior to the proposed fellowship term.