Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship

Chip and Jesse in the reading room

The Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship offers splendid opportunities for collegiality with and mentoring from the staff, other visiting fellows, and the academic community in and near Worcester, Massachusetts. Recipients of other AAS fellowships--academic scholars as well as creative and performing artists and writers--will be in residence for varying periods of time throughout the Hench Fellow's year long tenure.

The Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship includes a manuscript review of the fellow’s work in progress. On behalf of the Hench fellow, the Society convenes a group of leading scholars to read the manuscript and provide feedback on areas where additional research is needed, as well as advice on how to reshape the dissertation for publication. This colloquium takes place during the fellow’s tenure at AAS.


Scholars who are no more than three years beyond receipt of the doctorate are eligible to apply for a special year-long residential fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society to revise their dissertation for publication. 

Any topic relevant to the Society's library collections and programmatic scope--that is, American history and culture through 1900--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. 

The Society welcomes applications from those who have advance book contracts, as well as those who have not yet made contact with a publisher. 

Length of Term

Twelve months 


The twelve-month stipend for this fellowship is $40,000. The Society also offers up to $4,000 in health insurance reimbursement.


The Hench 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.


For fellows who reside on campus in the Society’s scholars’ housing, located next to the main library building, the stipend will have the room fee deducted from the stipend. (Room fees range from $1,000 to $600 per month.) Although fellows have priority, renting from the Society is not a requirement of those holding fellowships. When requested, the staff will do their best to suggest alternative accommodations in Worcester or environs.

About the Fellowship

Established as the Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellowship in 1998, the fellowship has been renamed in honor of John B. Hench, who retired in August 2007 as vice president for collections and programs after thirty-three years on the staff of the American Antiquarian Society. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, generous sponsor of this fellowship, has made a challenge grant to the Society, which is currently raising money to endow this fellowship.

Application Procedure

To apply, complete an application form online.

You will be asked to attach a single PDF document containing the elements listed below:

  • A CV of no more than three (3) pages
  • A proposal of no more than six (6) double-spaced pages describing the project, its current status, its significance for scholarship, and your plans for revision. Be sure to provide an overview of the narrative and argument, locate the project in the relevant literature.
  • A selective bibliography of not more than one page providing, for purposes of context, a list of secondary sources relevant to the proposed project
  • A statement of previous support that you have received for this project, as well as a statement indicating whether you currently hold or expect to hold an academic appointment or equivalent during the fellowship year. If so, please indicate whether you expect to receive support from your institution during the tenure of the fellowship, and the terms of such support.
  • Please supply names and contact information for two references (referees should be able to speak to the research proposal at hand)
Application Deadline
Contact Person


Date Name Affiliation Position
2024-25 BJ Lillis Princeton University PhD Candidate in History A Valley Between Worlds: Slavery, Dispossession, and the Creation of a Settler-Colonial Society in the Hudson Valley, 1674-1766
2023-24 Chip Badley University of California, Santa Barbara Lecturer of English Writing Beauty: Painting and Queer Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
2022-23 Emily Gowen Boston University PhD Candidate in English On the Margins: Steady-Sellers and the Problem of Inequality in Nineteenth-Century America
2021-22 Ann Daly Mississippi State University Assistant Professor of History Minting America: The Politics, Technology and Culture of Money in the Early United States
2020-21 Caylin Carbonell College of William and Mary PhD Candidate in History ’At Home in My Master’s House’: Household, Labor, and Authority in Early New England
2019-20 Rachel Miller Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University Postdoctoral Associate Capital Entertainment: Stage Work and the Origins of the Creative Economy, 1843-1912
2018-19 Don James McLaughlin University of Tulsa Assistant Professor Infectious Affect: The Phobic Imagination in American Literature
2017-18 Roberto Saba University of Pennsylvania PhD in History American Mirror: The United States and the Empire of Brazil in the Age of Emancipation
2016-17 Brendan Gillis Miami University of Ohio Visiting Assistant Professor Conduits of Justice: Magistrates and the British Imperial State, 1732-1834
2014-15 T. Cole Jones Johns Hopkins University PhD in History Deprived of their Liberty: Enemy Prisoners and the Culture of War in Revolutionary America