The BSA Fellowship Program

In keeping with the central value the Society places on bibliography as a critical framework, the BSA funds a number of fellowships to promote inquiry and research in books and other textual artifacts in both traditional and emerging formats.

Application & eligibility ↑

Applicants must be active members of the Society to be considered for a fellowship award. This restriction does not apply to New Scholars Program applicants. Join or renew now.

Information about the application process for all BSA Fellowships, including eligibility requirements and links to the application forms, is available on a separate page on our website.

BSA fellowships ↑

In keeping with the central value the Society places on bibliography as a critical framework, the BSA funds a number of fellowships to promote inquiry and research in books and other textual artifacts in both traditional and emerging formats.

What kinds of work do fellowships support? ↑

Bibliographical projects may range chronologically from the study of clay tablets and papyrus rolls to contemporary print, manuscript, and born-digital materials. Topics relating to texts in any field and of any period are eligible for consideration as long as they include analysis of the physical object as historical evidence.

Projects may include establishing a text or studying the history of book or manuscript production, publication, distribution, collecting, or reading, and the history of bibliographical study itself. Fellowship awards may be used to fund travel to collections and other expenses associated with research, publication, or other scholarly outcomes related to the topic for which the award was made. Projects that are primarily enumerative (lists) will be considered for funding provided the proposal states a clear objective, describes the need for such work within its field, and specifies the extent to which textual objects will be described. Sample entries for project results are also welcome, if applicable.

For projects that involve significant computer applications or use of digital surrogates, the proposal must explain how the digital analysis relates to the researcher’s examination and study of original artifacts. Projects that rely wholly on digital surrogates without prior analysis of original materials will not be funded.

Normally, BSA fellowships support research and are not intended to fund time spent writing. When restrictions on travel are in effect, the Committee may consider proposals for writing projects and will make announcements to that effect with the call for applications.

Projects involving more than one researcher are eligible for consideration if they meet the criteria described above. Detailed instructions for group applications are offered in the application form.

Applicants should read the fellowship titles and descriptions below to assess the general suitability of their projects to BSA’s program. Please note that individuals who have not received BSA fellowships in the previous five years will be given preference.

General fellowships ↑

BSA Short-Term Fellowships ($3,000) support bibliographical research that focuses on the physical aspects of textual artifacts as historical evidence. Such artifacts, both tangible and digital, in any field and of any period are eligible for consideration. Projects may include studying the history of textual production, publication, distribution, collecting, or reading. Projects to establish a text are also eligible.

The Fredson Bowers Award ($1,500) is funded jointly with the Bibliographical Society of the UK where it is a Major Grant.  Applicants must apply through the Bibliographical Society (UK).

British book trades ↑

The Katharine F. Pantzer Senior Fellowship in the British Book Trades ($6,000) supports research by a senior scholar engaged in bibliographical inquiry into the history of the book trades and publishing history in Britain during the hand-press period

The Katharine F. Pantzer Junior Fellowship in the British Book Trades ($3,000) supports research by a senior scholar engaged in bibliographical inquiry into the history of the book trades and publishing history in Britain during the hand-press period.

Cartography ↑

The Charles J. Tanenbaum Fellowship in Cartographical Bibliography ($3,000) supports projects dealing with all aspects of the history, presentation, printing, design, distribution, and reception of cartographical documents from Renaissance times to the present.

Culinary arts ↑

The BSA-Pine Tree Foundation Fellowship in Culinary Bibliography ($3,000) supports the bibliographical study of printed and manuscript cookbooks (once commonly known as receipt books), medical recipe books that also contain culinary recipes, as well as other types of books, manuscript, and printed material.

Early books and manuscripts ↑

The BSA-Harry Ransom Center Pforzheimer Fellowship in Bibliography (two awards, $3,000 each) supports the bibliographical study of medieval and early modern books and manuscripts held in the Ransom Center’s Pforzheimer Library and its other wide-ranging collections.

North America ↑

The BSA-St. Louis Mercantile Library Fellowship ($3,000) supports research in North American bibliography, including studies in the North American book trade, production and distribution of North American books, North American book illustration and design, North American collecting and connoisseurship

Western hemisphere ↑

The Reese Fellowship for American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas ($3,000) may be awarded to any scholar, whether academic or independent, whose project explores the history of print culture in the western hemisphere. Funded by the William Reese Company. Apply through the BSA.

Black bibliographers ↑

The Dorothy Porter Wesley Fellowship ($3,000) supports bibliographical study conducted by a Black individual. Building on the Society’s commitment to expanding the representation of scholars of all backgrounds and identities

Early collections professionals ↑

The BSA Peck-Stacpoole Fellowship for Early Career Collections Professionals (2 awards, $3,000 each) supports bibliographical research by conservators, curators, librarians, and others who are responsible for institutional collections of textual artifacts, at early stages of their careers. Apply through the BSA.

Midwestern bibliographers ↑

The Caxton Club Fellowship for Midwestern Bibliographers ($3,000 and a one-year membership in the Caxton Club) supports bibliographical research that focuses on the physical aspects of books or manuscripts as historical evidence. Books and manuscripts in any field and of any period are eligible for consideration.

Rare Book School attendees ↑

The BSA-Rare Book School Fellowship funds tuition for one first-year attendee each year at any course offered by Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville or another location, with an additional grant for travel or housing expenses. Candidates must apply on the Rare Book School website’s scholarship page.