March 31 CUNY–New York Botanical Garden–Humanities Institute Graduate Research Fellowship
The Early Research Initiative invites applications for two CUNY– NYB—Humanities Institute Graduate Research Fellowships. These CUNY sponsored $4000 fellowships will be offered to CUNY Graduate Center Ph.D. students (Level I onward) from any program with primary research interests related to the environmental humanities that can be studied using the collections of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at NYBG. One of the most comprehensive botanical libraries worldwide, its holdings comprise eight centuries of knowledge about the plant kingdom and related topics. The primary responsibilities of the fellowship recipient will be to collaborate with curators and archivists from NYBG to expand public awareness and accessibility of important historical documents and related materials that reflect contemporary American science and culture. The fellowship recipient will be responsible for carefully scanning, describing, and indexing of one of the collection’s historical manuscripts (see below), preparing it for potential online publication.
While the rich and diverse collections of the Mertz Library span the early modern period to the contemporary moment and embrace the global as well as the local, it is offering CUNY students, the opportunity to complete a study project focused on early American botany, gardening and horticultural traditions, involving four, late eighteenth and nineteenth-century manuscripts relating to New York and surrounding areas, namely:
New York City Plantsman’s Ledger, 1793–1795. This manuscript by an anonymous plantsman from New York City is a unique historical account of eighteenth-century life in lower Manhattan before department stores as it describes services rendered to, and goods purchased by prominent New York City residents, many of whose names are still reflected in today’s local street names.
Prince Family Account Book, Flushing New York, 1815-1817. This manuscript, a historical Daybook kept by William Prince (1766-1882) describes the business conducted at the Prince family nursery in Flushing, Long Island, NY, and includes an inventory of the furniture, farming utensils, horses, and personal property belonging to the various family members, who imported plants and fruit trees from Europe.
Minutes of the New-York Horticultural Society, 1818-1839. In 1818 a group of horticulturists, gardeners, and nurserymen founded the New York Horticultural Society, which up to the 1840’s furthered botany and horticulture in the region. Its Inspecting Committee’s records are extensive and colorful; its members consisting of New Yorker from all ranks of society, from gentlemen to gardeners, who would meet weekly to examine flower, fruit and vegetable exhibitions.
John Torrey (1796-1873) Calendarium Florae for the Vicinity of New York, 1818-1820. This manuscript records daily excursions and flower sightings in New York by one of America’s leading botanists, John Torrey, when he was a young medical student. The manuscript forms part of the larger repository at NYBG (The Torrey Papers), a leading collection of Torrey’s correspondence, notes, and botanical illustrations, which document the development of botany and natural science, the establishment of American scientific institutions, as well as American westward expansion.
Fellowship recipients will be required to be in residence for 120 hours over the summer of 2016 at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library; in addition, recipients will be required to do a brief public presentation on their work progress and write a blog post about their experiences before the end of the Fall 2016 semester.
How to Apply:
To apply please send a letter of interest describing your research interests and related experience with specific reference to one of the projects above by the staff of the NYBG, a c.v., a current Graduate Center transcript (Students may submit the unofficial student copy that can be printed from banner), and a letter of support from your primary advisor.
Instructions for submitting your application
1) Please combine the above materials (except for the letter of recommendation) into a SINGLE file (either as a pdf document or a word document). Use the following format when naming your document: Last Name, First Name, Program
2) Email your file directly to email@example.com. Please use your graduate center email address when sending the file.
Instructions for Faculty Recommenders
1) Prepare your reference letter as a regular word or pdf document.
2) Please use the following format when naming your document:
Student Last Name, First Name
3) Email your file directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Deadline: March 31st, 2016