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Archives Research Fellowships


Archives Research Fellowships
Samuel J. Tilden papers

About the Archives Research Fellowships

The New York Public Library is currently digitizing the papers of Samuel J. Tilden. The papers will be accessible via the Library’s web site early in 2013. In conjunction with its making this important archival resource available online, NYPL is offering research fellowships of up to $5,000 to support research projects related to Tilden’s circle of activity and the political culture in New York and the United States during the 19th century.

Fellows will spend at least one month in residence in the Manuscripts and Archives Division at the New York Public Library, consulting the Tilden papers and other archives relevant to their research goals. Fellows will also be expected to produce an essay of 3,000-5,000 words for publication on the Library’s website. These essays will complement and provide context for the Tilden papers online.Samuel J. Tilden, 1814-86., Digital ID 98569, New York Public Library

NYPL’s Tilden archival research fellowships aim to support traditional archival research and narrative historical writing, but also seek to engage audiences beyond advanced researchers using the Tilden papers and other primary sources online. Successful candidates for the fellowship will therefore bring fresh insight to the Tilden papers and also a desire to explore the creative space of public scholarship – expanding their professional expertise while helping solidify the NYPL online archives environment as a venue for research and historical communication.

About Tilden and the Tilden papers

Samuel Jones Tilden (1814-1886) was an attorney, prominent Democrat, governor of New York, and U.S. presidential candidate in 1876. An advocate of reforms in taxation, legislative rules and municipal financing, Tilden was active in Democratic Party politics. He gained considerable acclaim for his role in dismantling the Tweed Ring, and battling other instances of graft in state government. In 1876 he won the popular vote for the presidency but lost the election to Rutherford B. Hayes in the Electoral College. After his death, his estate was tied up in litigation until 1892 in a dispute over the provision of his will that specified that the bulk of the estate be used for the creation of a free library and reading room in New York City. The trust was later used to establish The New York Public Library. Tilden’s correspondence follows the arc of his career spanning from student days through to his death in 1886. The papers include both messages to family members, and formal communications with political, social, and financial luminaries, covering a wide range of subjects.

Tilden’s papers and the strong complementary holdings of the Manuscripts and Archives Division are rich sources for research in many fields of historical inquiry, including reconstruction-era New York City; Democratic Party politics patronage and election tactics of Tammany Hall; corruption and reform in American political history; the urbanization of New York City; the Presidential election of 1876; the constitutional and legal history of Civil War and Reconstruction; the Panic of 1873 and economic depressions in American history; financial, personal and political networks in 19th century America; and the development of the railroad and railroad financing; as well as biographical studies of Tilden’s prominent political and business associates.

Details of Archives Research Fellowship

Time frame: Fellows are expected to be in residence in the Manuscripts and Archives Division for at least a month before the end of January 2013. Essays for the Library’s website will be expected by April 15 2013.

Funding:  Stipends of up to $5,000 are available.

The Manuscripts and Archives Division: The Division holds over 29,000 linear feet of archival material in over 3,000 collections. The strengths of the Division are the papers and records of individuals, families, and organizations, primarily from the New York region. These collections, dating from the 18th through the 20th centuries, support research in the political, economic, social, and cultural history of New York and the United States.

The crowd in front of the New York office on the night of the Tilden-Hayes election, 1876., Digital ID 801476 , New York Public Library

Application instructions

Applications will not be accepted after September 1, 2012. Candidates should submit and fellowship proposal and a curriculum vitae:

The fellowship proposal (maximum 1,500 words) consists of:

1. A statement summarizing the applicants current research project (i.e., dissertation, article, book, etc.), which details why research in the Tilden papers (and other collections in the Manuscripts and Archives Division) is necessary.

2. A statement proposing the essay that the applicant will produce for publication on the Library’s website. These essays will appear in conjunction with the Tilden papers. They should endeavor to provide historical background for understanding the papers and draw from and make explicit references to items in the papers.



Complete applications should e-mailed to the e-mail address: with the subject line ‘Archives Research Fellowship” or sent via mail to:

     New York Public Library
     Manuscripts and Archives Division, Room 324
     ATTN: Archives Fellowships
     11 West 40th St. New York, NY 10018

In developing proposals, applicants are encouraged to contact Manuscripts and Archives Division staff by

Individuals interested in projects related to archival collections at NYPL are encouraged to contact