In a recent post, we encouraged scholars who live a distance from Cambridge to apply for a Houghton Visiting Fellowship. The post has all the details, but the long and short of it is that winners receive $3,600 to support at least four weeks (not necessarily consecutively) of research at Houghton. Fellows get to really know the collections, have precious uninterrupted hours to write and work, and can take advantage of conversations with Houghton’s knowledgeable curatorial and reference staff. We think that it’s a very good idea for eligible researchers to apply.
But what is a Houghton Fellowship year like? While we think that no two fellowships will be identical, potential applicants might be interested in the experience of Robert Sarwark, Knowledge Management Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and previously Librarian at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
Rob was a 2018-2019 Fellow working on the Catholic Index of Forbidden Books, a project that brought him to Houghton four times during his fellowship year. Rob wrote quarterly dispatches about each visit and published them on the Intellectual Freedom Blog, run by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. In his posts, published July 2018, October 2018, January 2019, and November 2019, he explains his project and some of the materials he consulted, and also discusses some of the results of his labor.
We think that Rob’s posts provide a good idea of what Fellows can expect during their time at the library, and thank him for allowing us to share his experience. In addition to these posts, Rob tweeted about his project and blogged about his research on his website Bibliography of the Damned, which includes some fine photos of Houghton in different seasons.