Mount Vernon

OI – Mount Vernon Fellowships for Digital Collections in the American Founding Era


The Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon seek proposals from scholars at all levels, in partnership with special collections libraries and historical societies, for the OI–Mount Vernon Fellowships for Digital Collections in the American Founding Era. These fellowships are intended to bring scholars and collections specialists together to make collections available for digital scholarship.

The fellowship will award up to $5,000 to the holding library and to the scholar whose research relies on, or will be greatly enhanced by, the digitization of a collection or partial collection of materials related to the American Founding era, broadly defined to span from 1763 to 1800, with preference for projects connected to George Washington and his world.

For the purposes of the application, digitization should be considered broadly. It may include (but is not limited to): the photographing of manuscripts, newspapers, graphic materials, or rare books; the scanning of index cards; the cataloging of rare materials; the enhancement of digital catalog records; or the inventorying of manuscript collections. We welcome project proposals employing materials from libraries and archives of all sizes. We especially encourage cartographic collections that will enhance American Revolutionary Geographies Online (ARGO), the Washington Library’s collaborative initiative with the Leventhal Map and Education Center to construct a digital portal for revolutionary-era maps.

Upon completion of digitization, the materials must be made publicly available. The Library and the OI will feature links to the completed projects on their websites. Fellowship recipients also may be asked to write blog posts and other pieces for publication by the two groups.

Required Files for the Digital Collections Fellowship application

  • Project Description (500 words). Please provide a brief description of the project and explain how the digitization of the collection is crucial to your research and how it might also benefit other scholars. Please also note any other funding you have pursued or been awarded for this digitization project. 
  • c.v. (2 pages maximum)
  • Timeline (1 page). Please outline when you expect to complete different stages of the digitization project. The timeline should include information about how/where the final project will be hosted as well as approximately when and how the public will be able to access it.
  • Budget (1 page). Please provide a detailed budget of no more than 1 page to show how you would spend the awarded funds. Depending on the scope of your proposal, this may be limited to the digitization funds outlined in the archivist’s Letter of Commitment or it may involve additional steps, travel, or equipment purchases. Please note the maximum award provided will be $5,000.
  • Letter of commitment (1 page). Please provide a letter of commitment from the archivist, librarian, curator or other representative of the special collection should the award be granted. This letter must include an itemized budget of the cost of digitization. (A simple xx hours by $$ per hour cost and estimate of hours necessary to complete the project is sufficient.) N.B.: If the materials are under license to a vendor, the letter should also explain that the library has permission to reproduce and make available these materials.