The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn brings manuscript culture, modern technology and people together.

Graduate Student Research Fellowship

2017-2018 Graduate Student Research Fellowship

Note: Applications for the 2017-2018 Fellowships are no longer being accepted, April 1, 2017 was the deadline.

Call for applications
The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) is now accepting applications for its 2017-2018 Graduate Student Research Fellowship. The fellowship has been established to encourage emerging scholars to engage with the rich manuscript resources at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and in the Philadelphia area.

This year, SIMS is pleased to offer the Graduate Student Fellowship in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia and the University of Fribourg-based project Fragmentarium (, an international scholarly social network that enables libraries, collectors, researchers, and students to upload medieval manuscript fragments and to describe, transcribe, and assemble them online. Working under the guidance of SIMS’s Curator of Manuscripts, Dr. Nicholas Herman, the fellow will be responsible for researching manuscript cuttings and fragments from the John Frederick Lewis Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia and contributing the data to Fragmentarium.

The Free Library’s collection of over 2,000 European manuscript fragments, principally dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries, is one of the largest of its kind and remains relatively understudied. The fellow will have direct access to this extraordinary research material and the opportunity to engage in original scholarly research related to his or her field of study. Further, the fellow will become a participant in a major international digital humanities initiative while benefitting from extensive local expertise.

The fellow will be required to attend two Fragmentarium-workshops in Europe prior to and following the fellowship appointment. The first workshop will take place from May 31 to June 2, 2017, at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. The second workshop will take place in the summer of 2018 at a location in Europe to be determined. Travel expenses for both workshops will be covered.

Graduate students with an interest in manuscript studies from any field (including but not limited to History, Art History, Classics, Music, Medieval Studies, and Ancient or Modern Languages) are encouraged to apply. Some prior knowledge of paleography and Latin and experience with digitization projects and online content management platforms are desired but not required.

The fellow will receive a total stipend of $7200 to be dispersed over a nine-month period beginning September 1 through May 31. During this time the fellow will be expected to spend 10-12 hours/week divided between the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn Libraries and the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Precise beginning and end dates and a weekly schedule will be determined in consultation with the fellow upon appointment.

The fellowship is available to all graduate students attending universities in the greater Philadelphia area during the 2017-2018 academic term.

Application Process
To be considered, applicants must submit the following by April 1, 2017:

  • A 2-3 page statement of interest in SIMS and the Fragmentarium project and an explanation of how the fellowship relates to the applicant’s research focus and career goals.
  • A CV.
  • A letter from the applicant’s Graduate Chair confirming departmental support of the graduate student’s application.
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the student’s advisor and another from an established scholar in the graduate student’s field with expertise relating to manuscript studies.

Applications should be sent by email to, preferably as a single pdf, or by post to the below address. Letters of recommendation should be submitted separately by email or by post.

Lynn Ransom
Curator, SIMS Programs
Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
3420 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

All application materials must be received by April 1, 2017, to be considered. Decisions can be expected no later than April 15, 2017. Please direct questions to the above contact.