E. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Thayer Verney Fellowship

The application period for the 2021 E. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Thayer Verney Fellowship is open.

The deadline for applications is Sunday, January 31, 2021.

In an effort to enhance the public’s knowledge and understanding of the heritage of Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Nantucket Historical Association offers an annual fellowship, the E. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Thayer Verney Fellowship. Established in 1999, the award encourages research in the collections of the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library and is open to academics, graduate students, and independent scholars.

The Nantucket Historical Association is the principal repository of Nantucket history, with extensive archives, collections of historic properties, and art and artifacts that broadly illustrate Nantucket’s past. Topics of research for recent scholars have included health aboard whaleships, women at sea, scrimshaw, samplers, local artists, Nantucket’s architectural heritage, Quakerism, the African-American and Cape Verdean communities, the Quaise Asylum, and abolitionism.

Award Overview and Requirements

The E. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Thayer Verney Fellow will commit to a research residency of up to three weeks during March–May or October–December 2021. The fellow also agrees to participate in the intellectual life of the association, including delivering a public presentation on their research topic and preparing an article suitable for publication in Historic Nantucket.

The Verney Fellow receives a stipend of $300 per week during their time in residence, for up to three weeks. Travel expenses are reimbursed up to $600. Additionally, housing is available at the Thomas Macy House, a history property owned by the association, during the three week period.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following materials:

  • A project proposal (up to 1,000 words), including
    • a description of the project and its significance,
    • a description of the anticipated research outcomes and audiences, and
    • the specific materials the applicant wishes to consult and their relevance to the project.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • One letter of recommendation.
    • For applicants who do not hold a Ph.D., the letter must come from a faculty member familiar with your work and with the project being proposed.
  • Proposed dates of travel.

Research topics should be strongly supported by the Nantucket Historical Association’s collections. We encourage prospective applicants to email Amelia Holmes, Associate Director of the Research Library, to discuss their research project and the collections that might support it before submitting an application.

Applications or inquiries may be sent to:
Verney Fellowship
c/o Amelia Holmes
Nantucket Historical Association
PO Box 1016
Nantucket, MA 02554
(with subject line: Verney Fellowship)


Verney Fellows

Research Topics and Resulting Publications

Dr. Chris Evans
Nantucket Whalers and the Market for Oil in the North Atlantic World, c. 1700–1830
Dr. Jane Hooper
American Geographies and the Islands of the Indian Ocean, 1786–1860
Marina Wells
Melville at 200 / Moby-Dick and Nantucket
Matthew Stackpole
“Nantucket shoreside industries in the 19th century”
Meaghan M. Fritz
“American Widows Willed: Extralegal Citizenship and the Literature of Womanhood”
Jeffrey Kovach
“Economics of the Leadership of the Quaker Women’s Meetings on Nantucket in the Eighteenth Century”
Sarah Crabtree
Tinker, Traitor, Coward, Spy!: The (mis)adventures of William Rotch”
Ben Shattuck
“History-based fiction: Edwin Chase”
Edward D. Melillo
“Out of the Blue: Nantucket and the Pacific World”
Seth Bruggeman
“Ships in a Bottle: The History of American Maritime Museums in the Twentieth Century”
Brigid Harmon
“Feasts, Flogging and Famine: Complex Foodways on Nantucket Whaleships”
Elizabeth Watts Pope
“Life of Phebe Folger Coleman”

Research for dissertation: “The Fruits of an Island Education in Phebe Folger’s Commonplace Book”

David Milne
“Curatorial & Interpretive Study of NHA Properties”
Bette S. Weidman
 “’Sconset-born Charles Frederick Briggs: Early New York Novelist and Editor” Historic Nantucket, Vol. 58, No. 3 (Summer 2008)
Debra McManis
“A Study of New England Farming”
Town Farms & Country Commons: Nantucket’s Agricultural History
“Nantucket’s Native Foodways” Historic Nantucket, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Spring 2009)
Renée Bergland
“American Ideas About Women Scientists in the Nineteenth Century”Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science: An Astronomer Among the American Romantics
Eric Jay Dolin
“The Whaling Industry”Leviathan: the History of Whaling in America (available at the NHA Museum Shop)
Susan Lebo
“Native Hawaiian Whalers in Nantucket, 1820-60” Historic Nantucket, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Winter 2007)
Alison M. Gavin
“Poor Farms in Nineteenth-Century New England”

“The Asylum at Quaise: Nantucket’s Antebellum Poor Farm” Historic Nantucket, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Fall 2003)

James Alsop
“Medical Practice on Nantucket Whaleships”
Lisa M. Tetrault
“Phebe Hanaford: Early Universalist Minister”
“A Paper Trail: Piecing Together the Life of Phebe Hanaford”  Historic Nantucket, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Fall 2002)
Christina Gessler
“Harvest of the Heart: Themes from the Diaries of Nineteenth-Century New England Farm Women”

“Researching the Diary of Martha Fish, a Nantucket Farm Woman” Historic Nantucket, Vol. 49, No. 4 (Fall 2000)

Lloyd Pratt
“Reading Habits of Nineteenth-Century Nantucketers”

Archives of American Time: Literature and Modernity In the Nineteenth Century

“Literate Culture and Community in Antebellum Nantucket,” Historic Nantucket, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Summer 2000)

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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