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The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers


Interior of the Cullman Center
The interior of the Cullman Center at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.


The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers  Announces
New Endowment Gifts for Two Fellowships

The New York Public Library is delighted to announce it has received gifts to permanently endow two Fellowships at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, in the names of Mary Ellen von der Heyden and Jean Strouse.

On the occasion of her birthday last December, Mary Ellen von der Heyden, a long-term member of the Center’s Executive Committee, was presented by her family with the surprise news that they had endowed a Fellowship at the Center in her name. “I am extremely grateful to my family—avid readers all—for honoring my birthday with this endowment gift,” she said later. “My engagement with the staff and Fellows of the Cullman Center over the past ten years has nourished my soul, and the exceptional contributions of these scholars and writers will enrich multitudes of readers for generations. It is a thrill to be able to help perpetuate the treasure that Dorothy and Lewis Cullman created eighteen years ago.”

Earlier in the year, an anonymous donor had endowed a Fellowship in honor of Jean Strouse, as she stepped down after fourteen years as the Center’s Sue Ann and John Weinberg Director.  Strouse called the gift “a magnificent tribute to the ongoing life of the Cullman Center and an extraordinary honor for me.”

The Cullman Center Fellowship is one of the leading opportunities in American letters and scholarship for the creation of new work. Now in its nineteenth year, the Center has welcomed more than 280 exceptional scholars, fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, dramatists, and visual artists—winners of ten Pulitzer Prizes, ten MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Awards, and six National Book Awards.

These new endowments will fund the work of Fellows into the future, allowing them access to the unparalleled resources of one of the world’s great libraries as they write the books of eras to come.

The Library and the Cullman Center extend to the von der Heyden family and the anonymous donor our enduring gratitude.

The competition for the 2018-2019 Cullman Center Fellowship is now closed. The application for the 2019-2020 competition will be available here in June.

The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers is an international fellowship program open to people whose work will benefit directly from access to the collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building—including academics, independent scholars, and creative writers (novelists, playwrights, poets). The Center appoints 15 Fellows a year for a nine-month term at the Library, from September through May. In addition to working on their own projects, the Fellows engage in an ongoing exchange of ideas within the Center and in public forums throughout the Library.

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Annie Baker"I’ve never had an opportunity like this; to just be able to study, study, study, with no deadlines and no pressure. It’s simply been about enrichment and research.  And that is the great privilege of the Cullman fellowship: to see where your mind takes you. To have the time and the resources to pursue your own intellectual adventure." —Annie Baker, Fellow 2015-2016

Anthony Grafton
"I have always been a skeptic about research centers, but this year has converted me—at least so far as the Cullman is concerned—into a believer." —Anthony Grafton, Fellow 2013-2014


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, The von der Heyden Family Foundation, John and Constance Birkelund, and The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and with additional gifts from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Helen and Roger Alcaly, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, William W. Karatz, Merilee and Roy Bostock, and Cullman Center Fellows.