Fellowships FAQs

Eligibility

What kinds of projects are eligible for fellowship support?

Folger fellowships support research that advances new scholarly agendas and makes use of our collections of rare books, manuscripts, and art from and about the early modern period. Please take a look at the list of current fellows to see the types of projects that have been funded. You can find additional lists of past fellows on Folgerpedia.

Do I need to name the fellowship for which I am applying?

No. The selection committee will consider your application for any fellowship for which you are eligible. But if you have a project that fits the stated goals of any named endowment, you can certainly mention that in your application. Whether or not a named endowment is mentioned will have no bearing on the Folger’s assignment of awards. For some of our partnered fellowships (FI-RSA fellowships, FI-OIEAHC fellowships) applications must be submitted directly to the partner organization; see Supporters and Partners for details.

Do you consider applications to revise a dissertation for long-term fellowships?

Yes, we welcome submissions for work on first books, including revised dissertations.

Residency

If I receive a fellowship, may I break it up—for example, coming for one month in the fall and another month in the spring?

No, fellows are expected to be in continuous residence. In rare circumstances, and in cases of special need, we will consider a request to divide the months awarded, as long as they are taken during the same fellowship year. Requests should be made as soon as possible after receipt of the award letter. If your schedule changes so that you cannot take the full amount of time for which you applied, you might have to accept a reduced award. Awardees should note that, due to the Folger Reading Room’s possible closure in 2020, we currently expect that all successful applicants will need to schedule their residencies in the summer and fall of 2019.

I need three full months of residency but can only come to the Folger in the summer. How can I take three months without breaking the fellowship in parts?

The Folger fellowship year extends from each June 1 to the June 30 of the following year. This allows scholars, when necessary, to take a summer fellowship of June through August. In other words, those seeking a short-term fellowship in June through August of 2019 should apply at the March 1, 2019 deadline. N.B. payment of the stipend may still need to commence with the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Do you have housing for fellows?

Yes. The Folger maintains a limited number of apartments across the street from the Library, which are suitable for both long- and short-term stays. These apartments are offered at rents substantially below market-price for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. All Folger properties are equipped with modern conveniences as well as wireless service and access to the Folger’s electronic databases. But it is important to remember that these are historic multi-level row houses, with both the charm and the limitations of older buildings. Fellows have priority in booking apartments, but the priority booking window is limited. After that, housing becomes available to all researchers, and bookings are made on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fellows are not obligated to live in Folger housing, but they may represent an added benefit to Folger fellowships, as they provide easy access to the Library and its resources and also enhance the sense of community which is so much a part of the fellowship experience here. To find out more about the properties and to make a reservation, contact our Property Manger, Jodie Pitman via email (folger.properties@folger.edu or jpitman@folger.edu) or by phone (202-675-0314). 

Will I need a visa to take up a fellowship if I am not a US citizen?

International scholars awarded a long-term fellowship will need to apply for an exchange visitor visa. International short-term fellows will need to consult with the Assistant Director for Fellowships to determine the need for an exchange visitor visa. The Folger maintains an exchange visitor program through the United States Department of State.

Letters of recommendation

Whom should I ask to supply my letters of recommendation?

You may ask any scholar or professional contact who can attest to the significance of the proposed work and your ability to realize the project. Letters should speak specifically to the project you are proposing, rather than focusing on your overall work. 

How should my recommenders submit their letters?

All recommenders are required to submit their letters via the Folger's online application portal.

Review process

What are my chances of receiving a fellowship?

Applicants for the long-term fellowship competition typically have a 10% chance of being awarded a fellowship, while applicants for short-term fellowships typically have a 43% chance of success. These odds will shift depending on the number of applications and awards in a given year.

Do my odds of success increase if I ask for a shorter period of residency?

You should ask for the number of months you need. Requests for one-month fellowships do not have a greater chance of success than those for two or three.   

Online application portal

May I apply by regular mail? May my recommenders send their letters by regular post?

No. All applications must go through our online application portal. Recommenders, too, must use the portal. Applications (and letters of support) sent by post or email will not be considered. 

What do I do if I have problems with the online application portal?

The online application portal has a section for technical concerns and a "Help" link to address your concerns. As always, you may contact institute@folger.edu.