In a typical year, the Library Company of Philadelphia and The Historical Society of Pennsylvania jointly award approximately twenty-five one-month fellowships for research in residence in either or both collections. These two independent research libraries, adjacent to each other in Center City Philadelphia, have complementary collections capable of supporting research in a variety of fields and disciplines relating to the history of America and the Atlantic world from the 17th through the 19th centuries, as well as Mid-Atlantic regional history to the present.
The Library Company, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 and located in Center City Philadelphia, holds over half a million rare books and graphics that are capable of supporting research in a variety of fields and disciplines relating to the history of America and the Atlantic world in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The holdings include the nation’s second largest collection of pre-1801 American imprints and one of the largest collections of 18th-century British books in America. Information about the subject strengths of the collections can be found here.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, now enriched by the holdings of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, holds more than 19 million personal, organizational, and business manuscripts, as well 500,000 printed items and 300,000 graphic images concerning national and regional political, social, and family history. The Balch collections have added rich documentation of the ethnic and immigrant experience in the United States. A catalog of its library is available at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania website.
Together the two institutions form one of the most comprehensive sources in the nation for the study of colonial and U.S. history and culture. The Historical Society’s strength in manuscripts complements the Library Company’s strength in printed materials. The Library Company’s collections reflect the whole range of early American print culture, including books, pamphlets, and magazines from all parts of the country, as well as books imported from Britain and the Continent. The Historical Society’s archives richly document the social, cultural, and economic history of a region central to many aspects of the nation’s development. The Balch Institute collections bring the HSP new strength in documenting ethnic and immigrant history, with significant holdings of ethnic newspapers, records of benevolent societies and other local and national ethnic organizations, and personal papers of prominent leaders in ethnic and immigrant communities. Both collections are strong in local newspapers and printed ephemera; the print and photograph collections of both libraries are rich in images of the Philadelphia region and graphics by local artists. The two libraries combined have extraordinary strength in the history of women and African-Americans, popular literature, business and banking, popular medicine, philanthropy and reform, education, natural sciences, technology, art, architecture, German Americana, American Judaica, and a host of other subjects.
THE DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF ONE-MONTH FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS IS MARCH 1, with a decision to be made by April 15.