Omohundro Institute and the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library Short-Term Fellowships

Please note that starting in fall 2019 all recipients of Omohundro Institute fellowships are expected to provide an ORCID identifier.

The Omohundro Institute and the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library are pleased to offer a joint short-term fellowship.

The OI-FI fellowships supports scholars—from advanced graduate students to senior scholars—with strong interests in early America, broadly understood. Scholars of Atlantic history, colonial history, literary studies, performance history, and material culture are encouraged to apply.

Usually, fellows make use of the collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library for one month as well as participate in the Folger Institute’s intellectual community. Starting in 2020, however, the Folger Shakespeare Library will be in the midst of a major renovation project. All fellows at the Folger Institute will be housed at other institutions during this time.

OI-FI fellows will be hosted by the Jamestown Rediscovery Center at Historic Jamestowne. They will have access to the collections there (see details below) as well as to the intellectual community and events at the Omohundro Institute and the online databases of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Fellowships carry a stipend of $3,500 per month.

Applicants should submit:

  • Project description (500 words maximum)
  • c.v. (2 pages maximum)

Applicants should request:

  • Two letters of recommendation (to be sent to the OI directly by the recommenders)

Applications are due November 1 via this website for the OI-FI fellowship.

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Regarding the Collections at Historic Jamestowne

Excavations by the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation led to the discovery of the original 1607 James Fort, and its buildings, wells, cellars, ditches, and trash pits. Over three million artifacts, lost or discarded by the early colonists, have been recovered since excavations began twenty-five years ago. The artifacts are housed in the Vault, located in the Yeardley House on Jamestown Island. Most are housed in archival storage in the Vault’s mezzanine, however objects that represent every material type and form are maintained on the main floor in an enormous reference collection. Exemplifying everyday life of the men, women, and children who occupied James Fort from 1607 until 1624, the reference collection is readily available for examination and study. Some, but by no means all, of the object types include: craftsmen and tradesmen tools and products; the arms and armor of soldiers; buttons, buckles, and other clothing items; rings, jewelry, toys, and other personal items; coins and tokens; building hardware and furnishings; Virginia Indian pottery, pipes, and tools of stone and bone; and artifacts from China; Turkey; Continental Europe, and England that demonstrate the global trade network of the era.

Regarding the Collections at the Folger Library

The Folger Library is known for its Shakespeare collections, but the Library’s holdings support research on all aspects of British and European literary, cultural, political, religious, theatrical, and social history from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries: and that includes materials that document early modern interactions between African, American, and European women and men.

The Folger has a wide range of materials—both in manuscript and print, as well as art, etchings, woodblocks, and drawings—which are of interest and use to scholars of early America. A unique and complete set of mixed-media manuscript and print indentures, all bonded in one year (1682/3), by one office in London, document the lives of sixty-five women and men who promised their future labor in exchange for passage to Barbados, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Engravings by the Czech engraver Wenceslaus Hollar capture the likenesses of four seventeenth-century children of African descent (we do not know whether they were enslaved or free), as well as one young Algonquian-speaking man.

Printed texts, such as Hariot’s 1590 Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, Herbert’s Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique (1638), Ogilby’s 1670 edition of his book Africa, and Ward’s Trip to Jamaica (1698), document European reactions to and interpretations of the people and places they encountered in their conquest and exploitation of Atlantic and Pacific worlds, and are joined by mediated sources such as John Pory’s 1600 translation of Leo Africanus’ Geographical Historie of Africa.

The Folger also holds an extensive collection of early maps, including a rare hand-tinted copy of Ephraim Pagitt’s polemical 1636 Christianography, as well as other cartographic works by Mercator, Ogilby, Ortelius, Ralegh, Seller, and Speed. These printed works in English are matched by an equally impressive collection of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century books in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, many of which are relatively undiscovered as their records are contained in the on-site card catalog alone. Many of the Folger’s texts are heavily annotated, with extensive marginalia, deletions, and commentary; these kinds of editions are a hallmark of the collection, as the library’s founder, Henry Folger, placed particular value upon books that had been marked and used by their early modern readers.