Fellowships & Awards

The Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture invites applications for two highly competitive fellowship programs: the William A. Elwood Fellowship in Civil Rights and African-American Studies and the Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature. Both fellowships offer visiting scholars an opportunity to conduct extended research in the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library for periods of one to three months. The collections of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library number over 400,000 books, 15 million manuscripts, and thousands of maps, broadsides, photographs, audio and video recordings, and artifacts. The Library is nationally recognized for the richness of its holdings in American history, with strengths in the discovery and settlement of British North America, the American Revolution and Early Republic, the Southeastern United States, Virginiana, the Civil War, and African American history.

The William A. Elwood Fellowship in Civil Rights and African-American Studies supports research in the history of African-Americans, in particular their struggle for equal rights.  Its relevant civil rights manuscript collections include those of activists Julian Bond and Sarah Patton Boyle, organizations such as the Social Movements Collection, the Southern Student Organizing Committee, the Virginia Council on Human Relations, and many others.

The Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature supports research in the literary works of authors resident in what is now the United States. Proposals may encompass any time period or genre, and may be bibliographical, biographical, critical, historical, or textual in focus. In a typical year, 20 months of fellowship support are awarded. The Small Special Collections Library is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive holdings of American literature and literary manuscripts, including the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, the Taylor Collection of American Best-Sellers, and the papers of William Faulkner, John Dos Passos, and many other authors of note.


Fellowship recipients are offered financial support depending on their length of residency at UVA: $1,800 for one month, $3,600 for two months, and $4,900 for three months. Taylor and Elwood Fellows must conduct their research between June 1 (the same year in which the award is received) and May 31; they may divide their trips into two or more shorter visits. Fellows are given access to the holdings of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library and other units of the UVA Library system. Taylor and Elwood Fellows are responsible for arranging their own housing.

Fellows will have opportunities to present their research to members of the UVA community or to contribute an essay about their research and experience in the Library’s blog, Notes from Under Grounds.


The Taylor and the Elwood Fellowships are open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who live beyond a 60-mile radius of Charlottesville, VA and

  • hold the Ph.D or equivalent degree, or
  • are doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy, or
  • are independent scholars with a significant record of scholarly achievement.

Once awarded, fellowships cannot be extended or renewed. Taylor and Elwood Fellowship recipients may reapply for support two years after concluding their previous residence.

Applications for the Taylor and Elwood Fellowships are due April 15. Applicants can expect notification by May 15.

Please include the following in your application:

  • a cover letter describing the research to be conducted at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, with specific reference to the collection materials that the applicant intends to consult and the proposed dates of residence
  • a current curriculum vitae
  • one signed letter of recommendation on official letterhead, to be submitted directly by the recommender

Submit all application materials in PDF form via email to: harrison_institute@virginia.edu. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications will be evaluated on the scholarly promise of the proposed research, the candidate’s qualifications for engaging in that research, and the relevance of the project to the holdings of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Fellowship Opportunities for UVA Graduate Students

Each summer the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia offers several Battestin Fellowships in the amount of $3,500 to UVA graduate students engaged in bibliographical or textual projects involving UVA Library collections.