Special Collections offers a variety of fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. These experiences offer the opportunity to explore original lines of inquiry while researching rare and unique materials.

Special Collections Freshman Fellows

Deadline Extension:  Sunday,  October 1, 2017

Freshmen can choose from different “time capsules” of themed collections from Special Collections resources or propose their own topic to explore! Fellows will work with Special Collections staff, who will serve as mentors and provide one-on-one research guidance. The program culminates in the creation of an end product of the students’ choosing that focuses on their research. Each fellow will receive a $1,000 stipend.

Past Fellows have translated and researched 16th century Latin texts; pored through collections of advertisements, women’s magazines, and books to examine how the 19th century Dress Reform movement impacted first wave feminism; traced the development of student life on Homewood Campus from the 1920s to today; and examined how editors changed Shakespeare’s language through the centuries. They have shared their research through curated displays in the Special Collections Reading Room, poster sessions, and public talks. Feeling inspired? Apply to be a Freshman Fellow!

To apply, select a topic you are interested in exploring. Then, write an essay of no more than 750 words about why you want to participate, noting which collection you want to work with or proposing your own research topic. Send your application or any questions about the program, especially if you are looking for guidance about pitching your own topic, to Heidi Herr. We will start accepting applications on July 1. All applications must be received by 11:59PM on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Details on information sessions about the program and opportunities during Orientation week to look at Special Collections items will be available over the summer.

Select one of these topics, or create your own!

Vintage Games A-Go-Go

Just how did teenagers amuse themselves before ye olde Snapchat? Why, with oodles of colorful and creative games and novelties, of course! Be the first researcher to explore our newly acquired collection of 19th century and Roaring Twenties-era games and mobile toys, including fancy French paper dolls, Charlie Chaplin ephemera, and educational games that actually encouraged the mixing of the sexes (basically, get ready for a major case of the vapors). Take a chance, explore centuries-old game theory, and learn about forgotten pop culture. You will totally end up a winner!

Chasing Windmills

The George Peabody Library holds a wonderful collection of that most famous tale of knight-errantry, Don Quixote (first published 1605), a work that has stood the test of time and given us such idioms as ‘to tilt against windmills.’ Our collection ranges from the 1610s-1950s, allowing you, our humble researcher, to investigate a wide-range of topics, from an analysis of book illustrations through the ways others have translated and been inspired by the text. Develop a better understanding of Don Quixote, situate the work historically, and report on your discoveries to a wider audience!

Yearbook, Yearbook Evolution

Alas, the storied Hopkins yearbook ist kaput now, but its legacy is remembered in the hallowed halls of the Special Collections Reading Room, where yearbooks dating back to 1889 are lovingly kept. Swoop into vintage Blue Jay history and discover how the yearbooks evolved: What did students wish to remember through the ages, and what kinds of changes to the content and format of the yearbooks were made? While you are at it, get a chuckle or two from all the proto-hipster facial hair on display!

Conversations with the Supernatural

Gigantic murderous worms, fortune-telling, dream interpretation, and the alleged communications that clairvoyants had with the dead captured the Victorian imagination. Explore—if you dare—rare books meant to expose the supernatural world around us, and while you are at it, postulate why all things creepy and creaky were so popular in the 19th century! You can even consult the spirit world to help us select old and spooky things to add to Special Collections.

Extra! Extra! Extra-Illustrated, That is

A fad among book collectors in the 19th century was to assemble extra-illustrated editions of works by favorite authors. These editions would include things like hand-written letters, portraits, and other intriguing pieces of ephemera meant to personalize a book. We have several of these books in our collection, including two focusing on Charles Dickens, The Life of Charles Dickens and The Letters of Charles Dickens. What was included in these extra-illustrated editions? Do any of them have untraced material that could change our perception of 19th century literary life? Maybe your discoveries will merit your very own, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” from the scholarly community!

A Question of Academics

If you think being a Hopkins freshman is a harrowing experience what with selecting classes and majors and everything, just think about what it was like in the 19th century when the Group System was “the law of the land.” Complementary subjects like history, political science, and economy were grouped together, gradually evolving into departments and majors by the early 20th century. Just how did the academic experience shift from the 19th century to today? Don your deerstalker cap and look for clues involving changes in undergraduate academic life in historic resources housed in the University Archives, like Circulars, Registers, Annual Reports, News-Letters, yearbooks, and papers of alumni.

Not Lost in Translati(O)n

Love studying Latin and solving mysteries? Then use your ever-growing Latin language skills to reveal the content of highly important, but rarely studied rare books held at the historic George Peabody Library. You will get to translate short and interesting Latin texts that date from the Renaissance and after and that have never been translated before! See if you can figure out why the books were important, what caused their downfall (Is it the Illuminati? Duh, it’s always the Illuminati), and why they should be embraced by the masses once more!

Ooh La La – Parisian Theaters in the 19th century

We have collections of plays performed in three theaters active in Paris in the 19th century: the Théâtre de la Gaîté, the Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique and the still-active Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin. A small number of the plays contain manuscript notes; and in at least one, these include notes on performance, set and costumes. Study the Parisian theater from any number of angles, such as performances, sets and costumes, architecture, plays performed and their authors, the actors and actresses, the history of one particular theater, or even the language and laws of the Parisian theater.

Rachel Carson at JHU

Did you know that Rachel Carson,the prominent conservationist, marine biologist, and author of Silent Spring attended graduate school at Hopkins? Just what was Rachel Carson’s graduate student experience like, and what was it like to be a graduate student in the early 1930s? What challenges did she face that other graduate students (men or women) did not have to deal with? You will have access to Carson’s extensive student file!

For Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships for the Study of Hopkins History

Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate or graduate students from any school at Johns Hopkins who wish to conduct research into an aspect of the rich history of Johns Hopkins University. Fellowship recipients are notified in the spring and conduct their research over the summer.

Special consideration will be given to projects exploring the history of diversity at Johns Hopkins or that propose a final product rooted in the digital humanities. The Hugh Hawkins Fellowships will enhance the undergraduate and graduate research experience by providing opportunities for original research in historical collections and for sharing research with the public.

Each fellowship recipient will work closely with a faculty mentor and an archivist mentor during the fellowship. Fellowship recipients’ work will be preserved in the Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives, creating a rich, continually growing, and publicly available body of original scholarship that will serve as a valuable resource for generations to come.

View the complete description of the fellowship guidelines and application process

Undergraduate Fellowships

Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA)

Expand a project you began in a class, or develop a new project that uses archival materials or rare books from special collections. Find a faculty mentor and work directly with a curator. Project outcomes can include but are not limited to traditional research essays, videos, small physical exhibitions, or digital exhibitions. See complete guidelines at the DURA site.

Please contact us for help and more information!

  • Gabrielle Dean, PhD, William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, for projects using nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first century materials.
  • Earle Havens, PhD, Nancy H. Hall Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, for projects using materials from the ancient world through the eighteenth century.

Graduate Fellowships

Archives Fellowships

Next Deadline: Spring 2018

Graduate students interested in Hopkins history are encouraged to apply to the Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships for the Study of Hopkins History.

For a complete description of the fellowship guidelines and application process, visit Hopkins Retrospective.

Denis Family Graduate Student Curatorial Fellowships

Next Deadline: TBA

The Denis Family Graduate Student Curatorial Fellowships give graduate students the opportunity to conduct original research and work with curators in launching a public exhibition hosted by the Sheridan Libraries. Fellows contribute to all aspects of the exhibition, from deciding which objects are to be displayed to promotional strategies.

Past exhibitions include The Enigmatic Edgar A.Poe in Baltimore and Beyond: Selections from the Susan Jaffe Tane Collection and Lost and Found in the Funhouse: The John Barth Collection

Singleton Center Summer Library Graduate Research Fellowships

Next Deadline: TBA

The Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe provides summer research fellowships to currently enrolled PhD students in the humanities (Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Institute for the History of Medicine, Peabody Institute DMA students) who are working on topics spanning the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods in Europe and European colonies abroad.

For a complete description of the program, visit the the Singleton Center.