Frequently Asked Questions about the Mellon Post-Dissertation
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A MELLON POST-DISSERTATION FELLOWSHIP?
The Mellon Post Dissertation Fellowship competition is open to scholars
who will have received the doctorate between May 1, 2003, and June 15,
2006. Graduate students may apply if they expect to have the doctorate in
hand by June 15, 2006, but notice should be taken of the materials that
will be requested of semifinalists. No person may take up the fellowship
before the Ph.D. has been formally awarded. The purpose of this
fellowship is to provide the recipient with time and resources to extend
research and/or to revise the dissertation for publication. Any topic
relevant to the Society's library collections and programmatic scope --
that is, American history and culture through 1876 -- is eligible.
Applicants may come from such fields as history, literature, American
studies, political science, art history, music history, and others
relating to America in the period of the Society's coverage.
WHAT OBLIGATIONS DOES ACCEPTANCE OF THE FELLOWSHIP ENTAIL?
The Fellow is expected to devote full time to the project and may not
accept teaching assignments or undertake any other major activities during
tenure of the award, which is for a minimum of twelve months. The Fellow
may not hold any other major fellowships or grants during the fellowship
period, except for sabbaticals and supplemental grants from his or her own
institution. The fellow is free to make his or her own arrangements for
publication of the book that results from residence as the Mellon
Post-Dissertation Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society.
WHAT IS THE STIPEND ATTACHED TO THE FELLOWSHIP?
The stipend for the twelve-month tenure is $30,000.
ON WHAT CRITERIA ARE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS JUDGED?
The Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellow will be selected on the basis of the
applicant's scholarly qualifications, the appropriateness of the project
to the Society's collections and interests, and, above all, the likelihood
that the revised dissertation will make a highly significant book.
WHAT RESOURCES WOULD AAS OFFER THE MELLON POST-DISSERTATION FELLOW?
Both tangible and intangible resources. The Society supports a major
research library in early American history and culture. The collections
center on materials printed within the boundaries of the United States,
Canada, and other former British possessions in the New world. In breadth
and depth, these collections are of preeminent quality through 1820 and
extremely strong for the years 1821-1876. They cover all aspects of
American life. In addition to books, pamphlets, and broadsides, the
Society holds excellent collections of newspapers, periodicals,
engravings, and lithographs, maps, sheet music, manuscripts, and a variety
of other specialized materials, which reveal central characteristics of
American culture. The Society's holdings also include selected modern
secondary works, a full array of bibliographical tools, learned journals,
and other aids to research. The fellowship would offer numerous
opportunities for collegiality and mentorship . with and from members of
the staff and the many other visiting fellows in residence during the
year. While in residence, a fellow has several opportunities to present
aspects of his or her work. These include a staff talk and a seminar, as
well as informal lunchtime colloquia.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SOCIETY'S COLLECTIONS AND PROGRAMS?
Access to the general guide to the collections, Under Its Generous Dome:
The Collection and Programs of the American Antiquarian Society and to the
Society's online catalogue is
available on this website. Selected references describing the
Society's history, collections, and programs may be found below. To learn
more about the library collections, potential applicants may contact
Joanne Chaison, research librarian (jchaison[at]mwa.org). AAS is a member
the Research Libraries Group (RLG). Records of AAS holding are regularly
entered into RLIN, RLG's bibliographical database, where they may be
WHAT IS THE PERIOD FOR TENURE OF THE FELLOWSHIP?
The Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellowship is tenable during the period of
June 1, 2006 - August 31, 2007. Fellows are expected to be in regular and
continuous residence during the period of the grants, except for such
scholarly activities as delivering papers, attending scholarly meetings,
and a reasonable amount of .vacation. time. The library is open weekdays:
from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and
from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. It is closed on all major public
WHAT ARE THE HOUSING OPTIONS FOR FELLOWS?
The generous bequest several years ago of the Goddard-Daniels House, a
large and comfortable house across the street from the library, enables
the Society to offer self-catering accommodations at a reasonable price to
fellows and other visiting scholars. Also available for rent to visiting
fellows is Montvale Cottage, a small, furnished house with two bedrooms,
adjacent to the Goddard-Daniels House. (Fellows have priority in renting
AAS accommodations, but doing so is not a requirement for holding a
fellowship.) Many opportunities for collegiality center around the
Goddard-Daniels House, where the Society's seminars, colloquia, dinners,
and informal gatherings of members, fellows, and visiting scholars take
place. Access to the Society's online computer and two microform readers
is available for evening and weekend work. Some fellows cook and eat all
their meals in the house, but many find Worcester's large variety of
restaurants offering diverse cuisines priced from modest to expensive a
tempting alternative. Worcester offers a plethora of cultural activities,
entertainment, and college and professional sports. Information about the
house and cottage will be sent to the successful applicant. Questions
about housing should be sent to gdh[at]mwa.org, and a member of the
staff will respond. When requested, the staff will do their best to
suggest alternative accommodations in Worcester and environs.
HOW MAY I OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP?
Contact Caroline Sloat, director of scholarly programs, American
Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609-1634;
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE?
The deadline for receipt of the completed application and two letters of
reference is October 15, 2005. Applicants will be notified of the results
of the competition in late January 2006.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR THIS FELLOWSHIP EVEN THOUGH FUNDING IS NOT YET
Eligible scholars are encouraged to prepare an application for this
competition. The Society will update the website and inform all scholars
who have inquired about the Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellowship as soon as
it can. In the eventuality that the fellowship will not be offered in
2006-7, all candidates who are eligible for an AAS-National Endowment for
the Humanities long-term fellowship may opt to have their application
transferred to that pool. Candidates will also have the opportunity to
apply for a short-term fellowship for 2006-7. A member of the Society
staff will contact each applicant.
Candidates are reminded of the importance of contacting, as early as
possible, the individuals who will be writing letters of reference for
them so they may be submitted by the deadline. In our experience, letters
written for a placement office dossier are frequently devoted to a
candidate's potential as a teacher, rather than addressing the scholarly
project that the Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellowship supports.