Swan Foundation Short-Term Resident Research Fellowships for Revolutionary-Era Material Culture


The Swan Historical Foundation, Inc. in Titusville, NJ and the David Center for the American Revolution at the Library & Museum of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia invite applications for an inaugural short-term residential research fellowship in Revolutionary-Era Material Culture (defined as 1750-1820). 

This funding opportunity provides one month of support for researchers to work in the artifact collections of the Swan Historical Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and other repositories in the Greater Philadelphia Region. The fellowship is open to scholars in all fields who show a demonstrated need to use the collections for their project. Applicants will be judged on the strength of the project and the demonstrated need to use collections. For those who need materials at institutions other than the APS or Swan, a letter of support from a curator or other relevant person at the proposed repository is highly encouraged.

Successful applicants are awarded a stipend of $5,000. The stipend is paid after the awardee arrives at the APS’s Library & Museum to begin their fellowship. The purpose of the stipend is to defray the costs of working in Titusville and Philadelphia. All awardees will have a small additional stipend to cover a trip to the Swan Foundation to see its collection. Awards are taxable income, but the Society is not required to report payments. It is understood that recipients will discuss their reporting obligations with their tax advisors. The Society does not provide fellows’ housing but will share suggestions for possible accommodations with the successful applicant.

Fellowships may be taken starting any day no earlier than June 1, 2024 and must be completed by May 31, 2025. Fellows are required to be in residence for four consecutive weeks. Fellows do not have to decide on the dates of their fellowship right away; they have one year to decide, although most take their fellowships during the summer period.

The Swan Historical Foundation, Inc. (SHF) is a 501c3 corporation dedicated to promoting interest in the era of the American Revolution and to collecting and exhibiting artifacts from the period. SHF owns a collection of approximately 1,200 items, housed primarily at the New Jersey Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ. SHF’s intent is to support education and research on the material culture of the era of the American Revolution and to promote familiarity with the SHF collection in the scholarly community. Applicants’ research topic need not focus specifically on items in the SHF collection, but should fit within the period of the collection’s scope (1750-1820). In return, SHF would appreciate a brief article (800-1200 words) for its newsletter about a relevant topic of the fellow’s choosing.

The David Center for the American Revolution integrates the rich manuscript, microfilm, and print collections of the David Library with the early American history collections of the APS to create a one-stop-shop for the study of the American Revolution. The David Library collections consist of approximately 8,000 volumes, 9,000 reels of microfilm, and the large Sol Feinstone manuscript collection. The Sol Feinstone Collection, a rich collection of letters and documents, was assembled by DLAR Founder Sol Feinstone (1888-1980) over a period of fifty years. It includes material on almost all notable Americans from before the Revolution to the 1850s, as well as prominent Europeans and documents related to military affairs. This adds to the APS Library's Early American History Collections, which are particularly strong for the period from 1750 to 1840. In addition to the Benjamin Franklin Papers and the Thomas Paine Collection, the APS has a wide assortment of documents from the revolutionary era. Among these are official government documents and correspondence, military records that range from the Continental Army to Pennsylvania county records, and personal correspondence from various historical actors. Comprehensive, searchable guides and finding aids to these collections are available online at www.amphilsoc.org/library and http://amphilsoc.pastperfectonline.com/.

The American Philosophical Society is committed to maintaining the highest standards of scholarly excellence while supporting a working and intellectual environment that fosters an inclusive atmosphere for learning, prizes diverse origins and points of view, advances equal opportunities to learn and communicate, and encourages the widest possible access to its collections. The APS has titled these goals the APS IDEA (Inclusivity, Diversity, Equality, and Access) for its enduring institutional commitment to these values.

Applicants may be:

  • Holders of the Ph.D. or its equivalent.
  • Ph.D. candidates who have passed their preliminary examinations and are working on their dissertation research.
  • Degreed independent scholars (without current academic affiliation).
  • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals. Candidates who live 75 or more miles from Philadelphia receive some preference.

 All Applicants must submit:

  • A cover letter,
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • A research proposal (2 pages double-spaced), that outlines the status of your work and what you will research at the Swan Historical Foundation and American Philosophical Society’s Library & Museum. Special attention must be made to specific collections that will be of use during your fellowship.
  • Two confidential letters of reference
  • Letters in support of research at other local repositories (optional)

Deadline: March 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Notifications will be sent in May 2023.

Application date
1 month
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, Archaeology, Arts and Art history, History, Literature, Philosophy, Theology and religion