The Folger Institute and the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS) are delighted to announce a new fellowship for scholars of the British world who are working on topics from the early modern period through to the present day. While the Folger has long been a destination for early modernists, our hope is that its extraordinary eighteenth-, nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century collections will now become more visible to scholars of modern Britain and the British Empire. Our new Folger-NACBS fellowship offers between $3,000-$8,000 for a scholar to spend up to three months working in the Folger collections.
The NACBS is a scholarly society dedicated to all aspects of the study of British civilization. The NACBS sponsors a scholarly journal, the Journal of British Studies, online publications, an annual conference, as well as several academic prizes, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate essay contests. While the largest single group of its members teach British history in colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, the NACBS has significant representation among specialists in literature, art history, politics, law, sociology, and economics. Its membership also includes many teachers at universities in countries outside North America, secondary school teachers, and independent scholars.
The Folger’s holdings in topics relating to early modern British history are unparalleled. Highlights of the collection include manuscript papers of the court and Privy Council; hundreds of manuscript recipe books, medical papers, and commonplace books; several significant sets of family papers (including the Bacon-Townshend family of Stiffkey, Norfolk; the Cavendish-Talbot family; the Ferrers family of Tamworth Castle; and the Rattray Family of Craighall); thousands of early modern printed books and pamphlets, and even a volume of Nehemiah Wallington’s diary.
In addition to the Folger’s well-known early modern British collections, highlights of the our more modern holdings include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century lampoons, caricatures, and satires by author-artists such as William Hogarth, James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, and George Cruikshank. Cruikshank is particularly well-represented, as the Folger collections include manuscript letters written by Cruikshank, the artist’s draft sketches, and tinted versions of many of his (in)famous printed caricatures.
Scholars with interests in modern Anglo-American theatre, spectacle, and performance will also certainly be interested in the Folger’s extensive nineteenth-century costume collection, which includes pieces worn by Ada Rehan, Julia Marlowe, and Edwin Booth.
The Folger also holds significant parts of the Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatre papers, which include ticket books, nightly accounts, pay-books, records of the wardrobe keepers, lists of subscribers, and inventories from both of those companies from 1714-1880. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century British playbills, promptbooks, and theatre ephemera are also well-represented in the collection.
The Folger-NACBS fellow must be a member of the NACBS in good standing. All applications will be reviewed by the Folger as part of the regular short-term fellowship process. Interested scholars should apply via the application portal by March 1. We look forward to welcoming our first Folger-NACBS fellow in June of 2018.