Applications open for 2023 Platzman Memorial Fellowships

The University of Chicago Library invites applications for short-term research fellowships for the summer of 2023. The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center is the principal repository of rare books, manuscripts, and archives in the Library.

Any visiting researcher, writer, or artist residing more than 100 miles from Chicago, and whose project requires on-site consultation of archives, manuscripts, rare books, or other materials in the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, is eligible.

The Rare Book Collection consists of approximately 350,000 volumes ranging in date from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first. Nearly all of the Library’s pre-1800 titles are located in Special Collections, as are many books from the early decades of the nineteenth century. Later printed books that are scarce or that have significant annotations, bindings, illustrations, or ownership history are also part of the rare book collections. Areas of strength include book arts, the history of science and medicine, Homer in print, historical children’s books, Jewish life and culture, and Chicago zines. For more details, see Collections and Digital Highlights.

Early and modern manuscripts include texts from the ancient and medieval periods to the present day. Early manuscript holdings include early gospels and liturgical texts; late medieval and Renaissance secular and religious texts, including books of hours and works of Boccaccio and Chaucer; English court and manorial records; and legal documents from northern Italy. Modern manuscripts include collections documenting the history of business, medicine, labor, and social reform in the city of Chicago; Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era; post-World War II atomic scientists’ political organizations; Cold War intellectual politics and world constitutionalism; Native American education and community organization; modern poetry, the Hyde Park, Kenwood, and Woodlawn neighborhoods of Chicago; and the Chicago Jazz Archive.

The University Archives documents the history of the University of Chicago, the work of its faculty, and the life of the academic community. Among areas of particular strength are the history of higher education, including race and gender on campus; the development of academic disciplines and area studies; and records and papers in economics, sociology, history, anthropology and ethnology, education, law, social thought, social work, theology and history of religions, ecology, physics, astrophysics, and geophysical science, among other fields.

Fellowship Applications

Support for beginning scholars is a priority of the program. Applications to work with collections or materials from underrepresented groups are encouraged. Applications in the fields of late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century physics or physical chemistry, or nineteenth-century classical opera, will receive special consideration.

Awards will be made based on the applicant's ability to complete the proposed on-site research successfully within the time frame of the fellowship. Applicants should explain why the project cannot be conducted without on-site access to the original materials and the extent to which University of Chicago Library collections are central to the research.

Up to $3,500 of support will be awarded directly to the Fellows to help cover estimated travel, living, and research expenses. A per diem of $157 a day is suggested by the Federal Guidelines for 2023 Travel.

Successful applicants who are not US citizens must hold a J1 visa and meet other requirements for J1 visa status.

The deadline for applications is February 24, 2023. Notice of awards will be made by March 24, 2023, for use between June 5, 2023 and September 15, 2023.

Applicants must provide the following information:

A completed Platzman Fellowship Application form including the project title; a brief summary (250 words or less); estimated dates of on-site research; and a budget for travel and living expenses during the period of on-site research. Applicants will be required to upload the following documents to their application form:

  • A research proposal not to exceed three double-spaced pages. Applicants should include references to specific archival finding aids and catalog records of particular relevance to their proposed project whenever possible.
  • A curriculum vitae of no longer than two pages
  • Two letters of support from academic or other scholars. References may be submitted with the application or sent separately via email.

Letters of reference in electronic form are preferred. They can be uploaded with the application or sent directly to the Platzman Fellowship Committee. Print letters of reference can be sent to:

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships
Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637


For additional information contact:
Catherine Uecker, Head of Research and Instruction, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center.