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Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources

Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources

About the Program

CLIR congratulates our 2014 Mellon Fellows! For a list of this year's fellowship recipients, please click here.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is pleased to offer fellowships generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for dissertation research in the humanities or related social sciences in original sources. The purposes of this fellowship program are to:

  • help junior scholars in the humanities and related social science fields gain skill and creativity in developing knowledge from original sources
  • enable dissertation writers to do research wherever relevant sources may be, rather than just where financial support is available
  • encourage more extensive and innovative uses of original sources in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and related repositories in the U.S. and abroad, and
  • provide insight from the viewpoint of doctoral candidates into how scholarly resources can be developed for access most helpfully in the future.

The program offers about fifteen competitively awarded fellowships a year. Each provides a stipend of $2,000 per month for periods ranging from 9-12 months. Each fellow will receive an additional $1,000 upon participating in a symposium on research in original sources and submitting a report acceptable to CLIR on the research experience. Thus the maximum award will be $25,000.

Selection Policies

A special committee of scholars in the humanities, archivists, and special-collections librarians will select fellowship recipients.

The committee aims to select representatives from different fields of the humanities and related social sciences consistent with quality in the research proposals. The committee will assess quality with reference to the following criteria:

  • originality and creativity of the research proposal
  • importance of the proposed dissertation to the applicant's field
  • appropriateness of the primary-source collection(s) and institutions in which the applicant proposes to do research
  • competence of the applicant for proposed research as indicated by references, transcripts, language skills, research experience, and other academic achievements
  • prospects for completing specified research within the time projected and funds awarded (not all dissertation work need necessarily be done within the fellowship period).

Traditional proposals for original source research in such fields as history will be welcome. But the committee will give preference to sound non-traditional projects in all eligible fields such as those that—

  • use newly available or little studied sources
  • make interdisciplinary use of sources
  • use sources in innovative, creative ways
  • use sources in repositories that cannot, themselves, provide financial assistance to researchers.

Fellows may propose to work in more than one repository during the fellowship period, including repositories abroad. Preference is given to applicants working away from their home institutions. The selection committee will assess the applicant's need for working in multiple repositories, working abroad, or both.

In the administration and awarding of fellowships, neither CLIR nor the selection committee discriminates on the basis of age, gender, race, ethnicity, physical disability, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation.

For questions regarding this program, please contact us by e-mail at mellon@clir.org.

Additional Information