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Frequently Asked Questions about the Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellowship


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 of the Research Libraries Group (RLG). Records of AAS holding are regularly entered into RLIN, RLG's bibliographical database, where they may be searched.

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 holidays.

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 program 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; (csloat[at]mwa.org.)

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 GUARANTEED?
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.


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-1634
Tel.: 508-755-5221
Fax: 508-753-3311
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Last updated August 9, 2005

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