The Morgan Library & Museum seeks applications for the Belle da Costa Greene Curatorial Fellowship, a two-year curatorial fellowship to be awarded to two promising scholars from communities historically underrepresented in the curatorial and special collections fields. Named for the Morgan’s first director, one of the most prominent American librarians and cultural leaders of the first half of the twentieth century, and a woman of African-American descent, this full-time program will equip the Fellows with a strong working knowledge of museum and special collections library operations and provides the Fellows with resources and mentorship to further a professional career in libraries, archives, or museums.
The Morgan seeks candidates who are interested in working on specific projects as outlined below. The program will provide the Fellows with experience in a variety of core curatorial activities, such as exhibition and publications planning, research on the collection and on potential acquisitions, the creation of public programs, and donor relations. The Fellows will also have the opportunity to propose and curate an installation or small exhibition in the museum. Fellows join all departmental meetings as well as the Morgan’s Curatorial Forum, a monthly gathering of all curators and conservators. Regular interaction with colleagues in other departments, including the Thaw Conservation Center, will give the Fellows a good grounding in the key functional areas of a museum and special collections library. Travel funds will support the Fellows’ professional development.
Graduate degree in relevant field or equivalent professional experience required (see more details below). General qualifications include experience conducting archival research using primary sources, deep intellectual curiosity and versatility, and a demonstrated ability to work independently, collaboratively, and efficiently. Candidates should have excellent writing and public speaking skills.
Compensation and Benefits:
$50,000 annually; excellent benefits. Fellows will also have a travel budget of $1500 per year for research and for activities supporting their professional development, such as attendance at a conference. Starting date for the Fellowship is summer or autumn 2023.
Fellows are selected on a competitive basis via an application process. All application materials must be in English. Applications consisting of the following elements are due by February 28, 2022, via this form.
- A cover letter addressing the candidate’s interest in a Belle da Costa Greene Curatorial Fellowship in one or more of the Morgan’s curatorial departments (listed below). The letter should discuss the applicant’s interest and qualifications in the department or departments’ subject area in general, and in the specific project or projects on offer.
- A personal statement explaining how the applicant identifies with an underrepresented community and how the candidate would contribute to the multiplicity of narratives in the museum and special collections fields in the future.
- A complete curriculum vitae, including language proficiencies
- A writing sample (in English)
- Names of three references
Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. The Morgan will notify successful candidates of their selection by April 2023.
Project Proposals, by Department
Applicants for the fellowship should describe their specific interests in, and qualifications for one or more of the departments listed below.
Drawings and Prints
The Department of Drawings and Prints seeks a Fellow to assist with one of a number of exhibition projects in nineteenth-century French drawings or seventeenth-century Northern European drawings. The Fellow would also take part in the research on the collection and on potential acquisitions, would have the opportunity to mount an installation, and would be expected to assist with all aspects of department curatorial work. Candidates should hold or be in pursuit of an advanced degree in the history of art (PhD preferred). Other qualifications include superior research skills and a documented interest in works on paper.
Literary and Historical Manuscripts
The Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts (LHMS) seeks a Fellow to work on the research and planning for the upcoming exhibition Belle da Costa Greene: A Librarian’s Legacy. To mark the 2024 centenary of its life as a public institution, the Morgan will present the first major exhibition devoted to the life and career of its inaugural director, Belle da Costa Greene (1879–1950). Belle da Costa Greene: A Librarian’s Legacy will trace Greene’s storied life, from her roots in a predominantly Black community in Washington, D.C., to her distinguished career at the helm of one of the world’s great research libraries. Through extraordinary objects?from medieval manuscripts and rare printed books to archival records and portraits?the exhibition will explore Greene's work as a librarian, scholar, curator, and cultural executive, and honor her enduring legacy. Although the Fellow will be part of the LHMS department, the project will entail research and collaboration across all curatorial departments. Candidates should hold or be in pursuit of an advanced degree in a related academic specialty such as art history, book history, medieval studies, cultural history, literature, or African American studies (PhD or MLS preferred). Other requirements include an interest in the history and development of American special collections libraries and museums; interest and academic coursework in African American studies and the history of race in America.
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
A Fellow in the Department of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts would focus on one of two projects: 1) helping to reorganize a group of roughly 620 single leaves that have entered the Morgan’s collection or 2) researching and cataloging items from the bequest of Belle da Costa Greene. For the first project, the Fellow will organize the leaves with respect to geography, chronology, and size; collaborate with the Morgan’s Thaw Conservation Center on leaves that need re-matting and/or re-housing; ensure that all leaves have been photographed; review and correct cataloging data; review and correct shelf lists; partner with Princeton’s Index of Medieval Art to update the iconographic indexing of recent acquisitions. For the second project, the fellow will research a group of approximately sixty single leaves and manuscripts (primarily in Persian or Arabic) once belonging to the private collection of Belle da Costa Greene. The Fellow will research their provenance; update their catalogue descriptions; collaborate with the Morgan’s Thaw Conservation Center on items that need re-housing, and update their display and presentation on the website. Both projects include the potential for the Fellow to curate a small exhibition based on their research. Candidates should hold or be in pursuit of an advanced degree in history, art history, medieval studies, or other related field (PhD preferred). Other requirements include a demonstrated history of the study of illuminated manuscripts and working knowledge of at least one of the following languages: Latin, Persian, Arabic, French, Italian.
Modern and Contemporary Drawings
The Fellow will be involved in the preparation of several exhibitions: one featuring a group of drawings recently acquired from the Estate of poet John Ashbery, by several of his artist friends; and another devoted to the work of ecofeminist artist Helène Aylon (1931-2020), who produced a prodigious body of work on paper over her fifty-year career. The fellow will be engaged in research on objects in the collection—updating exhibition and publication records, and writing descriptions—and will have the opportunity to mount a small installation. The fellow will also assist in researching potential and new acquisitions and participate in the day-to-day activities of the department. Candidates should hold or be in pursuit of an advanced degree in the history of art (PhD preferred). The successful candidate will have substantial knowledge of modern and contemporary art and excellent research and organizational skills.
Printed Books and Bindings and Literary and Historical Manuscripts (LHMS)
A Fellow jointly appointed in the Printed Books and LHMS Departments would have the opportunity to develop skills in collections research, catalog and database navigation, resource description, and bibliographical writing. The Printed Books and LHMS Departments are interested in a Fellow who could begin compiling a census of printed books and literary manuscripts in the Morgan’s collection that were authored and/or published by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). This Fellow would work closely with the eighteenth and nineteenth-century French and English imprints and manuscripts in the Gordon N. Ray Collection, the twentieth-century American literature in the Carter Burden Collection, and the illustrated books in the Julia P. Wightman Collection. The Gordon N. Ray Collection, which includes rare books, literary manuscripts, and drawings, has extensive holdings in printed books, Victorian literature, and lithographic albums. The Carter Burden Collection of around 9,000 volumes of first editions and inscribed copies includes many notable writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The Julia P. Wightman Collection includes 1,500 children's books from such authors as Beatrix Potter and Frank Marshall Davis. The process of compiling this census would involve uncovering existing collection strengths while determining potential areas of growth for future acquisitions. Candidates should hold or be in pursuit of an advanced degree in a related academic field such as literature, book history, cultural history, or ethnic and diversity studies (PhD preferred). Consideration will also be given to those holding MLS degrees. Other requirements may include substantive knowledge of diverse literature, a demonstrated background in bibliographical research, and the ability to work with accuracy and attention to detail.
About the Morgan Library & Museum
A museum and independent research library located in the heart of New York City, the Morgan Library & Museum began as the personal library of financier, collector, and cultural benefactor Pierpont Morgan. The Morgan offers visitors close encounters with great works of human accomplishment in a setting treasured for its intimate scale and historic significance. Its collection of manuscripts, rare books, music, drawings, and works of art comprise a unique and dynamic record of civilization, as well as an incomparable repository of ideas and of the creative process from 4000 BC to the present.?
Generous support for the Belle da Costa Greene Curatorial Fellowships is provided by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence R. Ricciardi and Christie's.