The Fellowship Experience
The period of residence in Worcester provides an opportunity not only for research in collections that are extraordinarily deep but also for collegial discussion with staff and other fellows, faculty in area colleges and universities, and other scholars visiting AAS from all over the United States and abroad for research, academic programs, and conferences. Among the gatherings of scholars are sessions of the Society's seminars, activities of the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture, and public lectures and concerts sponsored by AAS. Long-term fellows in residence will include the Mellon Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence and the Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellow. A fellowship at AAS also provides an uncommon opportunity for productive interchanges with artists such as playwrights, historical novelists, musicians, and documentary film makers, some of whom are also fellows in residence.
The Society is able to offer self-catering accomodations at a reasonable price across. Information about AAS scholars' housing will be sent to successful candidates. Options include a rooms in the Fellows' Residence and the two-bedroom Montvale Cottage. Many opportunities for collegiality are centered at the Fellows' Residence, where the Society's seminars, colloquia, dinners, and informal gatherings of members, fellows, and visiting scholars take place. Fellows have priority in renting AAS accommodations, but doing so is not a requirement for holding a fellowship. When requested, the staff will do their best to suggest alternative accommodations in Worcester and environs. Judging from the reports they submit, most fellows--whether senior scholars or Ph.D. candidates--have found their tenure at AAS to be an uncommonly productive and invigorating experience, thanks to the rich collections and the sense of common purpose shared by fellows and staff. One associate professor reported, "When people ask me where I've been the past month, I tell them `Research Heaven.'" One senior scholar, who came with a working bibliography of items to research, observed that there were "very few items that I could not find in the AAS library, and quite a few, previously unknown to me, that I had to add." Summing up her experience, a graduate student wrote, "In a sense I felt [the fellowship] was my initiation into the scholarly community. My month's stay provided the welcome reassurance that archival research is not necessarily a solitary endeavor. I think the greatest resource at the AAS is the people--both the staff and the scholars who frequent the library. The staff were all very welcoming and helpful. The reading room and the shared living quarters at the Goddard-Daniels House promoted a sense of collegiality and community, providing occasion for both formal and informal interaction with scholars from a wide range of fields."