Hypothetical Ways to Use the Fellowship

The American Antiquarian Society offers Creative and Performing Artists and Writers Fellowships for people who are creating works of art or non-fiction in any discipline designed for general, non-academic audiences.

The deadline for this annual competition is October 5. Listed here are some hypothetical ways that people might make use of these fellowships.

  • Fellow A is writing a historical novel about life among the immigrant Irish canal-diggers in antebellum America. She enriches the historical
    texture of her novel by reading immigrants. diaries, contemporary novels about Irish life in the United States, and the published annual reports of
    key canal companies, and by studying contemporary lithographs and maps depicting canals and canal routes.
  • Fellow B is a freelance journalist who often writes about current American social problems. He believes that his analysis of contemporary trends would be enhanced if he could gain a larger historical perspective on today's issues. At home he has neither the time nor the library collections to make a beginning. With a month at AAS free of other distractions, he explores a wide variety of primary sources on such subjects as racial and ethnic conflict, American federalism, historically defined gender roles, American gun culture, and early American attitudes toward gambling.
  • Fellow C is a documentary filmmaker with several national public television productions to his credit. He is embarking upon a new project dealing with colonial American history, but has been concerned about finding contemporary graphic images. He comes to AAS and, by using the AAS computerized catalogue and other finding aids, locates more than he imagined existed.

  • Fellow D is a soprano with a background in both opera and song. For a projected national recital tour, she wishes to enlarge and deepen her repertory of American works. At AAS she finds many suitable songs and arias for her program in the large collection of sheet music, as well as nineteenth-century opera and recital programs, newspaper reviews, and diary accounts by music lovers that help her understand past performance practice and the cultural context of earlier American musical life.

In addition, all four fellows gain confidence in the historical accuracy of their work by reading widely in recent secondary works and, especially, through their conversations with academic fellows in residence and AAS staff in formal colloquia and, informally, over lunch and dinner in the Fellows' Residence at 9 Regent Street.

In short, successful applicants will be individuals with a demonstrated interest in undertaking research in important primary and secondary collections in order to produce imaginative, high-quality work for the general public. AAS is looking for applicants who would both benefit from and contribute to a sharing of ideas and perspectives within the inclusive and welcoming community of staff, visiting fellows from colleges and universities around the world, Worcester-area faculty, elementary and secondary school teachers and librarians, and AAS members and friends.

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