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Massachusetts Historical Society

Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions

Receipt Deadline: January 15, 2018

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.

The Massachusetts Historical Society will award at least two long-term MHS-NEH fellowships for the academic year 2018-2019. The stipend, governed by an NEH formula, is $4,200 per month in 2017 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. Within the constraints of the NEH's guidelines, 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.

Host Institutions: Massachusetts Historical Society
Location: Boston, MA
Point of Contact: Long-Term Fellowships
Phone: (617) 536-1608
Fax: (617) 859-0074

About NEH Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions

The National Endowment for the Humanities provides grants to independent centers for advanced study and international research organizations to support fellowship programs for humanities scholars through its Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions (FPIRI). NEH fellowships provide scholars with stipends, a collegial environment, and access to resources that might not be available at their home institutions.

Fellowship programs may be administered by independent centers for advanced study, libraries, and museums in the United States, or American overseas research centers or other organizations that have expertise in promoting research on foreign cultures. The centers and organizations establish their own peer review procedures for the selection of NEH grant recipients and administer the awards. NEH provides funding for humanities fellowships of four to twelve months.

Amount of Award

Amount of the award will vary by the number and length of the fellowships offered by the host institution.


Centers and organizations applying for these grants may not be affiliated with an institution of higher education and must be independently governed, financed, and administered. In addition, they must have a pre-existing fellowship program maintained with non-NEH funding. Eligibility for NEH fellowships at these research institutions is limited to United States citizens and foreign nationals who have been residents in the United States for the three years immediately preceding the application deadline for the grant. NEH research opportunities are intended for persons who have already completed their formal academic training. Consequently, persons seeking support for work in pursuit of a degree are not eligible for NEH fellowships and research grants.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.