Houghton Library Fellowships

Houghton Library supports research on its collections by scholars, poets, artists, and Harvard University undergraduate students through four annual fellowship programs: Visiting Fellowship, Undergraduate Fellowship, WPR Creative Fellowship, and New England Regional Consortium Fellowship.

Now accepting applications for 2020-2021. Deadline: January 17, 2020.

Now accepting applications. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

  • Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Fellowship

Now accepting applications (see link below). Deadline: February 15, 2021. 

Open to Harvard undergraduates only.  Due to the upcoming building renovation at Houghton Library, the Undergraduate Fellowship Program is on pause for 2019-2020. 

The Philip Hofer prize is awarded each year to a student or students whose collections of books or works of art best reflect the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination exemplified by Philip Hofer, A.B.'21, L.H.D. '67. Hofer was the founder and first curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library and secretary of the Fogg Art Museum.

Contest entries are judged on the purpose, consistency, and quality of the collection, and the presentation of the essay and bibliography. The cost and rarity of collection items and the size of the collection are not criteria.

The panel of judges reserves the right to make awards only to contestants whose collections are considered to be of exceptional quality. The first prize brings an award of $3,000, second prize $1,500, and third prize $750.

Winners will also be invited to participate in an awards ceremony in April and to lend representative books or works of art to an exhibition at the library.

The prize, which is to encourage student interest in collecting, was established by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. '52, L.L.B. '55.

Each year, the Woodberry Poetry Room invites poets, writers, artists, composers, and literary scholars to propose creative projects that would benefit from the resources available in the room and to generate new work that further actualizes the Poetry Room's collections.

In conjunction with the Poetry Room's 90th Anniversary (in 2021-2022), this year's fellowship program is encouraging proposals for projects that relate to the library's nine-decade history.

Ninetieth-anniversary projects might include the creation of a short documentary film or oral history recording; an online exhibit or multimedia project that reimagines the concept of "a library of voices”; an artistic installation that engages with Alvar Aalto's architectural designs or the views over Harvard Yard; or a sequence of poems, essays, or performances that resonate, question, and/or are in dialogue with---the writers, poetic works, literary and socio-political movements, and/or technological innovations with which the Poetry Room has intersected and engaged over the course of the last century.

This year's Creative Fellowship carries a stipend of $4,500 and a Harvard Library special borrower’s card, as well as in-depth research support from the Poetry Room's curatorial staff. During certain years, additional WPR Creative Grants have been made available at the discretion of the Fellowship committee.

Covid-19 Information (please read): Typically, the Creative Fellow is expected to be in residence for at least 7 days during the academic year (September through April). However, due to the evolving nature of Covid-19, we ask that all applicants include a plan for how their proposed project could be undertaken and fulfilled virtually, if the physical library remains closed for some (or all) of the upcoming academic year.

To be considered, applicants will be asked to provide the following materials:

  • a description of the proposed creative project, which highlights the applicability of the Poetry Room's collection materials (and, other Harvard Library collections, if pertinent) to the project


  • a list of the collection materials that will likely be consulted

  • a work sample (writers/scholars: a single PDF writing sample / 15 pages maximum); visual & interdisciplinary artists / up to 10 digital images or a 10-minute (maximum) excerpt of a sound or visual recording. Accepted formats include: PDF, TIFF, JPEG, MP3, WAV, MP4 and MOV.

  • a current artistic/professional resume (in PDF format)

  • contact information for one letter of reference.

The application deadline is February 15, 2021. For further information, contact Christina Davis at davis2@fas.harvard.edu.

Recipients will be notified by May 1, 2021.

Houghton Library