Houghton Library

Houghton Undergraduate Fellowships

Houghton Library/SHARP Undergraduate Fellowship



Houghton Library is pleased to invite Harvard undergraduates to work with our collections in the summer of 2017 with support of an Undergraduate Fellowship. These competitive fellowships are designed to fully support a summer of work at Houghton, Harvard’s world-class rare books and manuscripts library. Houghton is home to the world famous and the almost entirely unknown, the ancient and the contemporary, the enduring and the ephemeral; as a researcher, a practitioner, an experimenter, we want to know what you can do with these materials.

During the course of a fellowship, undergraduates work closely with library staff to discover new areas of interest or to delve into ongoing projects. Our first two cohorts of nine fellows have created an opera, written a play, identified and filled gaps in scholarly literature, printed and bound books, constructed a guide to the Houghton collections for students, undertaken a digital humanities project, created exhibitions, produced a series of podcasts, and more. We invite proposals for summer 2017 on any topic or discipline supported by our collections. Creative, digital, research, and performance projects are all welcome, as are those we haven't thought of yet.

Thanks to our continued partnership with Harvard Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships and their Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program (SHARP), 2017 Houghton Undergraduate Fellows will also be part of this unique residential research program. Fellows receive housing at Leverett House, light breakfasts and full dinners, financial and logistic support of student-driven programing, trips, and social events, coverage of the summer earnings obligation if receiving financial aid, and a stipend of $2,850. Move in for the program begins in early June and the program runs through mid-August (10 week commitment).

A public program showcasing projects of the Houghton Library/SHARP Undergraduate fellows is held in Cambridge, MA in the fall.


The Harvard Undergraduate Fellowship at Houghton Library is open to all Harvard College students currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. Projects must make primary and substantive use of Houghton materials.


The 2017 application has passed. Please check back in the fall of 2017 for details on our 2018 program. We always welcome any inquiries and heartily encourage conversations about project proposals. We are happy to discuss project proposals at any stage of development. To schedule a time to talk with a Houghton librarian about your project, please use this form. You may also email us at: houghton_library@harvard.edu.

Houghton Library Book Arts Fellowship



Houghton Library in partnership with Harvard’s own Bow & Arrow Press is pleased to announce a new joint summer fellowship for Harvard College undergraduates interested in book arts, fine printing, and publishing.

The Houghton Book Arts fellow will spend ten weeks at Houghton Library pursuing a project related to a book arts topic with guidance from Houghton librarians and curators. Topics could include altered books, artist's books, book binding, book forms, bookmaking, illustration, letterpress, paper-making, print-making, typography, and more. The project should make primary and substantive use of material in Houghton’s collections for inspiration. Fellows will have the opportunity to join a number of workshops on the content, form and history of Houghton’s collections throughout the summer. Fellows will also spend time with Pressmaster Ted Ollier at Bow and Arrow Press and with area partners learning the art and craft of printing and book-making. This hands-on experience should function as an extension of the research and work with Houghton Library’s collections.

A public program showcasing projects of the Houghton Book Arts fellows and the Houghton Library/SHARP Undergraduate fellows will be held in Cambridge, MA in the fall. Fellows should plan to present on and celebrate the work they accomplish over the summer.

Stipend: $3,600

For additional information or to discuss a proposal please request a time to meet or submit a question.


The Houghton Book Arts Fellowship is open to all Harvard College students currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.


Applicants should complete the online application form for consideration by the Selection Committee. Applications are due Friday, March 24, 2017. Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decisions by April 7, 2017.

Applicants should also have a letter of recommendation which may be submitted online or sent to the Book Arts Selection Committee in care of Houghton Library.

About Us

Houghton Library is home to the world famous and the almost entirely unknown, the ancient and the contemporary, the enduring and the ephemeral. As Harvard College’s primary rare books and manuscripts repository with particular collecting strengths in the areas of Printing and Graphic Arts, Houghton serves as an ideal site to begin or continue exploration of the book arts.

In the News

Internet-era Students, Meet Rare Books, Harvard Magazine, November 18, 2015

Meanwhile, in the stacks…”, Crimson Arts Column by Arthur Schott Lopes, Houghton 75th Anniversary Fellow

Navigating the Archives: Houghton Looks To Draw Students, The Harvard Crimson, December 3, 2015

Recalling the Stacks, REEL WRITING, July 17, 2015

Return to Top

Helpful Links

An overview of Houghton Library collections

On using the Houghton Library Reading Room

Houghton Library Research Guides:

wordpress icon

tumblr icon

twitter icon




Return to Top

Previous Fellows’ Projects

Summer 2016 Houghton Library Undergraduate Fellows


Left to right: Griffin Gonzales ’18 (Houghton Library/Thornwillow Fellow), Arthur Schott Lopes ’19 (Houghton Library 75th Anniversary Fellow), Miga Purev-Ochir ’17 (Houghton Library/Thornwillow Fellow), Tez Clark ’18 (Houghton Library/SHARP Fellow), Jess Clay ’17 (Houghton Library/SHARP Fellow), Thomas Peterson ’18 (Houghton Library/SHARP Fellow)

   Photo of Tez Clark

Tez Clark ’18 (Houghton Library/SHARP Fellow)

Working with the Willard Van Orman Quine archive at Houghton, Tez examined the development of this 20th century philosopher's commitments through a digital humanities project comparing drafts of his lectures, essays, and published content. Her work also led to a small exhibition on Quine from September-November at Houghton Library and to a scholarly paper on the subject.



In work that contributes to his History and Literature thesis, Jess used Houghton's early drawing of John James Audubon, as well as Audubon’s papers and many related texts to explore Audubon as an American Romantic figure. His work also led to a substantive exhibition on Audubon, “Sublime and Manifest,” in the Keats Room of Houghton Library.



   Griffin Gonzales

Griffin Gonzales ’18 (Houghton Library/Thornwillow Press Fellow)

Griffin’s work as a fellow for Houghton’s inaugural book arts-focused summer program began with an investigation of William Cory Johnson, resulting in a lengthy biography he hopes to publish. Additionally, Griffin applied the myriad skills developed over the summer to set the type for a book of his own poems. He then printed and bound a small series of the book.



As Houghton’s 75th Anniversary Fellow, Arthur has pursued a number of outreach initiatives aimed at demystifying Houghton and encouraging fellow students to make use of the collections. Primary among his activities is the creation of the Houghton Compass, a student guide to the Houghton collections from the perspective of every Harvard concentration.



   Thomas Peterson

Thomas Peterson ’18
(Houghton Library/SHARP Fellow)

Perusing a two-pronged approach to his fellowship at Houghton, Thomas followed both a creative and research mission through the summer. Thomas wrote a play on Edward Sheldon, an early graduate of Baker’s Theatre Workshop, drawing work with Sheldon’s archive and other supplementary materials in the collection. His research focused on the origins of theatre as a discipline at Harvard, making use primarily of the George Pierce Baker papers at Houghton. The resulting scholarly essay served as the cover story for the new Theatre, Dance and Media magazine.


Driven by an interest in artists’ books and children’s books, especially those from Russia, Miga explored a wide variety of holdings at Houghton Library and developed a specific interest in the life of Amy Lowell, whose juvenilia is at Houghton. Working at Thornwillow Press Miga conceptualized a portfolio focused on Lowell and experimented with copperplate etching to illustrate her project.



Summer 2015 Houghton Library Undergraduate Fellows

Mikhaila Fogel ’16

Mikhaila’s project was focused on understanding the origins of America and Britain’s divergent birth control movement outcomes through primary engagement with the American Birth Control League papers and the Margaret Sanger papers at Houghton Library, as well as books in the collection on 20th century eugenics and war. Her work with the collections contributed to a History and Literature thesis.

Virginia Marshall ’15

Though the course of the summer, Virginia produced a series of six podcasts informed by her research at Houghton and the Woodberry Poetry Room. With topics ranging from Charles Olson to Vladimir Nabokov to phone-a-poem, Virginia highlighted a variety of sounds and stories from the archives.

Jake Wilder-Smith ’16

Working with the James Family papers at Houghton, Jake composed an opera revolving around the experiences of Alice James and her place in the famous family. A performance of selections from the work was held at Houghton Library in fall 2015.

Return to Top