Fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society


[Nathaniel Philbrick]
Well unlike just about any other library or research facility
I have been associated with there is a real
collegiate atmosphere here. When you come in under the
dome you are in the presence of not just all these
objects, but other scholars. And for me its kind of old home
week when I come back here. It’s a real community
of scholarship. [Narration] At the American
Antiquarian Society this community of scholarship
can be supported through residential fellowships. During their time
at the Society, scholars use the library’s
resources, and participate in seminars and presentations
that involve the full community. [Jill Lepore] When I was in graduate school I got a
month long fellowship to come to the American Antiquarian
Society to do some research on my dissertation, which
was an investigation of a 17th Century war in New England called
“King Phillips War.” The wealth of materials
available was tremendous. But more even than that for
me, what was transformative about that month in Worcester
was that we were asked to present our material. We had to give a seminar
to the assembled community of other Fellows and the staff. What I got back from those
people was a sense of belonging in an intellectual community. It was a way of being welcomed into you know what would have
been called in the 18th century “the Republic of Letters.” [Honorée Jeffers]
I have always dealt with history in my
creative work. History weaves through
culture, weaves through art, you cannot unbraid
you know those three. For me there are artistic
moments that I can explore through history in ways
that I can’t do simply through my own imagination. Coming here to the American
Antiquarian Society was I think a real leap forward. Everything I needed was here. Coming here made me realize that
I am part of a larger community. It’s really allowed me to open
up my world view about who I am as an artist, who I
am as an intellectual and to actually claim
the label of historian.

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