John Crerar Foundation History of Science and Medicine Fellowship

Title: John Crerar Foundation History of Science and Medicine Fellow

Division/Department: University of Chicago Library

Reports to: Librarian for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology

General Summary:

During 2020-2021, the fellowship will focus on exploring the history of women engaged in astronomy research at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI, which is a largely unexplored area of research. The Fellow will work closely with the Librarian for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology and other Library staff to identify, collect, organize and synthesize biographical, scientific and related information about the women involved in research endeavors at the Observatory during the early- to mid-twentieth century.  The fellow will explore various online resources available from the University of Chicago Library collections, including archival photograph collections, digitized logbooks of observations, biographical resources, news databases and more.  If conditions allow, the Fellow may also spend time consulting the print archival records of the Observatory Director's Office held in the Library's Special Collections Research Center.  The Fellow will develop an organized collection of research materials, develop bibliographies of resources, and write biographical sketches.  The Fellow will work to develop a comprehensive listing of all scientific papers produced from the Yerkes Observatory research. These Fellow will work with colleagues in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics to start to contextualize these scientific papers within a the broader context of the development of astronomical scholarship and the scholarly networks of astronomers who spent time at Yerkes Observatory. The Fellow will also assist in developing a plan for additional research, identifying potential sources of information at other libraries and archives and making contact with curators of collections to explore possible holdings related to project for future exploration.  As time permits, the Fellow will work with the Librarian for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology and other Library staff to develop an online presentation of the findings of the research into the history of women at Yerkes Observatory.  Initially, all fellowship activities will take place in a remote environment.  Fellows will also attend weekly Zoom meetings of a joint Library/Department of Astronomy working group related to Yerkes Observatory history and collections.

While initial appointment is for a single academic quarter, reappointment for additional quarters will be considered.

Specific activities will vary according to Fellow’s skills and interests, but may include:

  • Research and summarize biographical and other information using online resources
  • Develop a bibliography of published research done at Yerkes Observatory to be used as the basis of further historical study
  • Explore potential archival and library collections that contain additional information related to project
  • Write biographical and other summaries of information discovered
  • Develop blog posts, articles, social media posts or other suitable outputs to promote the history of Yerkes Observatory and the women who contributed to the research done there


  • Enrolled in a UChicago graduate program and in good academic standing during the period of the fellowship
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently to accomplish project goals
  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Interest or experience/background in science or history of science preferred

For questions about this fellowship, please contact Andrea Twiss-Brooks,

Previous recipients:

Summer 2019 - Zachary Barr, Ph.D. candidate in History

Fall 2019 - Krithika Mohan, Ph.D. candidate in Neuroscience

Winter 2020 - Reese Fulgenzi, Ph.D. student in the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

Summer 2020 - Clara del Junco, Ph.D. student in Chemistry