Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program 2019-20, Smithsonian Libraries, USA

Publish Date: Jan 23, 2017

Deadline: Jan 15, 2018

The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program is offered in alternating years. Please check back for information on opportunities during the 2019-2020 academic year (September through August). The deadline will be January 15, 2018.

The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program supports scholarly research into the legacy of Patrick Henry and his political circle, the early political history of Virginia, the history of the American Revolution, founding era ideas and policy-making, as well as science, technology, and culture in colonial America and the Early National Period.

The stipend for this long-term post-doctoral fellowship is $45,000 for nine consecutive months. Applicants must hold a PhD by September 1 of the year they apply. Senior scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. Fellows are expected to give at least one public lecture during the tenure of their fellowship, as well as to submit a research report and to show definite progress toward a publishable manuscript by the end of the fellowship period.  Fellows may be asked to cooperate with the Smithsonian Libraries’ administration in planning and organizing a scholarly program in their area of expertise.

The Smithsonian Libraries offers its fellows the rich holdings of its research collections, especially at the National Museum American History Library, the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, the Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library, and the American Civilization Collection at the National Museum of the American Indian Library. Our holdings are searchable via the SI Libraries' online catalog, SIRIS. The Libraries also provides guidance and contact information to relevant historical collections in the Washington DC area, especially regarding the holdings of Patrick Henry materials and resources of the American Revolutionary and colonial eras.

This fellowship is funded by a bequest from Margaret P. Nuttle.

About the Award

Applicants must have research interests that relate to collections of the Smithsonian Libraries. The selection of scholars is based in part on the need to consult specific holdings in the Smithsonian Libraries.  Applications should include a bibliography of specific titles or a description of specific collections to be used, as well as evidence of the applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research (as outlined in letters of reference, publication record, etc.). The quality of the proposal is determined by the importance of the topic, its originality and sophistication of approach, the feasibility of research objectives, and relevance to the collections.

International scholars are welcome to apply. Applicants whose native language is not English must be able to demonstrate the ability to write and converse fluently in English. In addition, depending on the topic and specific research materials required, applicants should have an understanding of other foreign languages sufficient to make substantive use of appropriate materials. English translations are not always available. 

The stipend of $45,000 can be used for any purpose related to the scholar’s research as proposed in the application, including travel to Washington. There are no additional allowances available. Stipends are not disbursed until after the scholar’s arrival. The Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships (OFI) manages the award procedures. 

The residency must occur between September 1 and August 31. Scholars are expected to be in residence at the Smithsonian full-time during their award tenures (plans to be away should be discussed in advance, if possible), to devote full-time effort to the research proposed, and to be regular users of the Smithsonian Libraries. Arrangements can be made for the use of other appropriate Washington, D.C. area libraries during the term of the award.

The Libraries will provide appropriate study space. The scholar will have access to the Libraries’ general and Special Collections and will have borrowing privileges for circulating materials and access to inter-library loan services.  Scholars will be invited to address an informal colloquium of Smithsonian Institution staff and fellows on the topic of his or her research.

In submitting an application for the program, the applicant does not incur any obligation to accept the award if selected.

If you have further questions about the Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program or the Smithsonian Libraries’ collections, email, or call 202-633-3872. Feel free to contact the individual branches if you have specific questions about their holdings.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA). You will be required to create an account. You may review the SOLAA User’s Guide on their website to familiarize yourself with application procedures. Technical assistance is available via email from the SOLAA site.

In addition to completing the online application form, applicants must also provide the following to complete their application package on SOLAA:

1. Statement of research (not more than 1000 words, double-spaced), which should include the following:

  • Full description of the research you plan to undertake at the Smithsonian Libraries
  • The importance of the project both in relation to the broader discipline and to your own research goals
  • Justification for conducting your research at the Smithsonian and using the Smithsonian Libraries’ collections.

2. Selected bibliography of titles or collections in the Smithsonian Libraries which are relevant to your research proposal.

3. Curriculum Vitae, reflecting your education, previous or current fellowships, grants, and awards, and a brief description of your research interests. Include undergraduate and graduate institutions, inclusive dates or study, areas of study, degrees earned, and major publications.

4. Two letters of reference (these will be uploaded directly by the referees).

Letters of reference:

You are responsible for contacting two individuals familiar with your scholarly work who will evaluate your proposal. You must provide each referee with a complete copy of your proposal sufficiently in advance for them to prepare a letter of support in time to meet the deadline. Include with your proposal a copy of the Referee Letter (see the pdf below) so that they are aware of SOLAA application procedures. You may monitor your application, including whether or not letters of reference have been submitted, via your SOLAA account. Letters of reference must be submitted by the deadline for the application to be considered complete.

Applications must be submitted by January 15, 2018.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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