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Fellowships at the Cullman Center
You walk the corridors of the Library with the acute sensation that what has been bestowed upon you, amongst all these books, is a sense of what matters. You enter a silence that requires humility, grace, and the deepest thanks.
—Colum McCann, novelist. Fellow 2004-2005
The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers offers fellowships to people whose work will benefit directly from access to the research collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street (formerly the Humanities and Social Sciences Library). Renowned for the extraordinary comprehensiveness of its collections, the Library is one of the world's preeminent resources for study in anthropology, art, geography, history, languages and literature, philosophy, politics, popular culture, psychology, religion, sociology, and sports.
It was one of the best and most productive years of my life. Whether the work is any good is of course another matter.
—Ian Buruma, journalist. Fellow 2011-2012
Criteria and Terms
The Cullman Center’s Selection Committee awards up to 15 fellowships a year to outstanding scholars and writers – academics, independent scholars, journalists, and creative writers. Foreign nationals conversant in English are welcome to apply. Candidates who need to work primarily in The New York Public Library's other research libraries – The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Science, Industry and Business Library – are not eligible for this fellowship, nor are people seeking funding for research leading directly to a degree.
The Cullman Center looks for top-quality writing from academics as well as from creative writers and independent scholars. It aims to promote dynamic communication about literature and scholarship at the very highest level – within the Center, in public forums throughout the Library, and in the Fellows’ published work.
A Cullman Center Fellow receives a stipend of up to $70,000, an office, a computer, and full access to the Library's physical and electronic resources. Fellows work at the Center for the duration of the fellowship term, which runs from September through May. Each Fellow gives a talk over lunch on current work-in-progress to the other Fellows and to a wide range of invited guests, and may be asked to take part in other programs at The New York Public Library.
While I know I probably spent too much time in my office working (though it never felt like 'work' to me!) and not enough time taking advantage of the other opportunities provided by the Center, I do want everyone to know that every second I spent in that office was sheer bliss! Just to have the time, the opportunity and resources to follow random leads in research, hone rusty drawing skills and learn new ones -- I truly felt rejuvenated by my time at the Cullman Center. I think over the last nine months I've made as much progress 'creatively' as I have over the last five years. It was just an immense privilege to be here... Oh god, I'm getting emotional... I don't want to leave! ... *Sob*... *Wimper*... *Moan!* [Dries Eyes... stares out window into sunset].
—Jacob Weinstein, illustrator and designer. Fellow 2011-2012
The New York Public Library/American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships
The Center may give up to five fellowships a year in conjunction with the American Council of Learned Societies. Candidates for joint fellowships must submit separate applications to The New York Public Library and to the American Council of Learned Societies. For information regarding ACLS eligibility requirements and an ACLS application, please visit the ACLS website, www.acls.org/programs/comps.
The deadline to apply to the 2015-16 Fellowship Competition is September 26, 2014, 5 p.m. EST
I remember thinking what curious people athletes must be to practice whatever it is they do for six to eight hours, seven days a week, for years on end – until it occurred to me that that’s what I do; that’s what we writers do all our lives. Others have no inkling of the twenty-four hours a day, waking or sleeping, in which we are about our true business – scholarship, poetry, our stories. That is what the Cullman Center knows.
—Lore Segal, fiction writer. Fellow 2008-2009
My time at the Center was one of the most fulfilling years of my writing career. I accomplished much of what I’d set out to do but I also went in directions I could not have planned. I hadn’t anticipated the direct ways in which the other Fellows’ work would steer aspects of my own. We inspired one another and through the long hours, kept each other company. We had a terrific amount of fun. The Cullman Center fellowship is unique and it makes an enermous contribution to public and private intellectual life.
—Adrian LeBLanc, journalist. Fellow 2007-2008
The Cullman Center is made possible by a generous endowment from Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman in honor of Brooke Russell Astor, with major support provided by Mrs. John L. Weinberg, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Estate of Charles J. Liebman, John and Constance Birkelund, The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and additional gifts from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Helen and Roger Alcaly, Mel and Lois Tukman, The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, William W. Karatz, Mary Ellen von der Heyden, The Arts and Letters Foundation, Merilee and Roy Bostock, Lybess Sweezy and Ken Miller, and Cullman Center Fellows.