Lapidus Initiative Fellowships for Digital Collections


This fellowship is funded by the Lapidus Initiative. We are conducting a review of the program and are suspending applications until further notice. Look for more information about the program in spring 2023.

The Omohundro Institute is pleased to offer fellowships for scholars at all levels working in partnership with special collections libraries and historical societies. The Fellowships for Digital Collections are part of the Lapidus Initiative. In concert with other OI projects promoting creative use of digital tools and materials, these fellowships are intended to bring scholars and collections specialists together to make collections available for digital scholarship.

Upon completion of digitization, the materials must be made publicly available.

The fellowship awards up to $5,000 to the holding library/archive 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 early America, broadly conceived, before 1820. Scholars must partner with special collections libraries that will digitize the needed materials with the funds from the fellowship.

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. If you have questions about this program or the application process, including how to construct a detailed budget, please contact Martha Howard at

Scholars whose work focuses on collections pertaining to the American Founding era, broadly defined to span from 1763 to 1800, with preference for projects connected to George Washington and his world, should also consider the OI-Mount Vernon Fellowships for Digital Collections in the American Founding Era.

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.