Thank you for your interest in the Preservation Society's residential fellowship program.
Social History Fellowship
“History is produced from what the archive offers.” (1)
“[Newport is] the most healthy Climate in North America…Inhabitants of the Southern Colonies and West India Islands resort in Summer as a place of health… Fish of all kinds are in greatest plenty and perfection. The Horses are boney and strong, the Meat Cattle and Sheep are much the largest in America, the Butter and Cheese excellent, and every necessary of Life in Abundance.” (2)
Newport, Rhode Island, has been described and accounted for as an intersection of ideas, trade, religions, cultures, and race since the land it occupies was colonized in 1639. However, the Newport experience has been documented as and referenced largely by the life experiences of white, mostly male, inhabitants. As a city built on commerce, industry, and military, we know its success was dependent on a more diverse population. As early as 1700, Newport participated in the African slave trade, yet the personalities, philosophies, routines, skills, and lives of the enslaved and later free Africans and — even later — African-Americans are rarely documented or explored as part of this city’s history. In turn, the historical narratives researched and presented to the public are incomplete without accounting for the Black experience. With institutional efforts already underway to present the untold histories of enslaved Africans during the pre- and post-Revolution period, the Preservation Society’s 2021-2022 Social History fellowship will examine the 19th-century existence of and experience of enslaved and free Africans and African-Americans in Newport and the Aquidneck Island community, with specific focus on stories that relate to sites on which Preservation Society properties exist — this includes both extant and demolished structures.
A successful candidate will demonstrate a willingness to build community partnerships, as well as locate, identify, and collate primary resources. Through collaboration and guidance from staff, this research will result in new information the Preservation Society can use to improve its offerings, thus better informing the public of the full Newport experience. This is only an initial step in the inclusive framework being constructed by the Preservation Society to share historically underrepresented voices in our tours and educational content, and marks a critical shift in how our sites can act as vehicles for American history storytelling.
To be eligible for the 2021-2022 Social History Fellowship, a M.A. degree is required in American history, African American history, social history, public history, anthropology, or other related fields.
(1) Fuentes, Marisa J. Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016, p. 146.
(2) “A Topographical Chart of the Bay of Narraganset in the Province of New England, 1777 / Surveyed by Charles Blaskowitz, Published by William Faden, London,” Library of Congress Geography and Map Division
To Apply & Notification Dates
Step 1: Prepare Materials
Complete the application form, click here.
Please provide an abstract (250-500 words) describing your interest in the project, qualifications to undertake the proposed scope of research, and ability to realize deliverables. We welcome preliminary ideas and resources you would use to approach the chosen subject. Please keep in mind that there may be restrictions to visiting archival collections considering the ongoing pandemic.
Please provide a copy of your current curriculum vitae.
Submit two (2) letters of reference from scholars or advisors who are familiar with your work.
*Candidates who are selected as part of the final round of consideration will also be asked to provide personal references from current and/or former landlords and appropriate individuals. Please have these references in order.
Step 2: Submit Materials
Please instruct your reference writers to submit their letters via email to fellowships@NewportMansions.org. The email subject line should include the word “reference” followed by your last name.
E-mail your complete application, including application form, essay, and vitae, to fellowships@NewportMansions.org. Please put your name in the subject line.
You may submit your materials directly via the online application form, or download a PDF of the application form here and email it along with your supplemental materials to the address above.
Application deadline for all materials is Saturday, May 1, 2021. Incomplete applications will not be eligible for consideration. Applicants who are selected for further consideration will be notified by Tuesday, June 1, 2021.
All Fellowship offers are contingent on the successful completion of a background check which will be conducted with the authorization of the Applicant immediately following acceptance of the Fellowship.