CHS is a member of the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, a group of research institutions in New England that pool their resources to offer grants to scholars so they can spend several weeks at repositories in the region. Every year the consortium receives 70 to 80 applications and we generally award 16-18 grants. It requires a lot of reading and deliberating on the part of the member organizations to select the most worthy projects, which we do at a marathon meeting in March each year. I am the representative for CHS.
For the 2014-2015 fiscal year CHS will host six fellows. Three have already completed their sojourns with us: Cristina Groeger of Harvard, Amy Ellison of Boston University, and Brendan Gillis of the University of Indiana. Cristina is studying the rise of credentials in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Using our records of business schools and other types of educational institutions, she sought to discover how and why formal education became important to employers and to practitioners of various trades and professions and what credentials were preferred or required.
Amy is seeking to prove that the American invasion of Canada in 1774 was a decisive factor in the colonists’ decision to fight for independence. That battle prepared the colonists for an extended war with Great Britain and provided the first steps in creating an American identity distinct from the British Empire. Amy relied heavily on our American Revolution Collection and the Joseph Trumbull Papers in her research.
Brendan focused on changes in the application of justice in America before and immediately after the Revolution. By studying court and other legal records such as writs and summonses, Brendan has found that although still under the rule of Great Britain in 1760, American jurors often changed British jurisprudence to fit the needs of their communities, although they still swore allegiance to the crown. Those changes later became codified once the United States declared their independence.
Our remaining scholars include independent scholar Mary Fuhrer who is studying tuberculosis in rural New England between 1800 and 1850, Jordan Smith of Georgetown University who is studying “The Invention of Rum”, and Jacqueline Reynoso of Cornell University, who is also studying the role of Canada, particularly Quebec, in the American Revolution.
The announcement of this year’s fellowship has just been released. Have a topic you want to delve into more deeply? Consider applying for one of these fellowships.