Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program

The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program supports scholarly research into the legacy of Patrick Henry and his political circle, the early political history of Virginia, the history of the American Revolution, founding era ideas and policy-making, as well as science, technology, and culture in colonial America and the Early National Period.

The stipend for this long-term post-doctoral fellowship is $45,000 for nine consecutive months. Applicants must hold a PhD by September 1, 2016. Senior scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. Fellows are expected to give at least one public lecture during the tenure of their fellowship, as well as to submit a research report and to show definite progress toward a publishable manuscript by the end of the fellowship period.  Fellows may be asked to cooperate with the Smithsonian Libraries’ administration in planning and organizing a scholarly program in their area of expertise.

The Smithsonian Libraries offers its fellows the rich holdings of its research collections, especially at the National Museum American History Library, the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, the Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library, and the American Civilization Collection at the National Museum of the American Indian Library. Our holdings are searchable via the SI Libraries' online catalog, SIRIS. The Libraries also provides guidance and contact information to relevant historical collections in the Washington DC area, especially regarding the holdings of Patrick Henry materials and resources of the American Revolutionary and colonial eras.

This fellowship is funded by a bequest from Margaret P. Nuttle.


Applicants must have research interests that relate to collections of the Smithsonian Libraries. The selection of scholars is based in part on the need to consult specific holdings in the Smithsonian Libraries.  Applications should include a bibliography of specific titles or a description of specific collections to be used, as well as evidence of the applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research (as outlined in letters of reference, publication record, etc.). The quality of the proposal is determined by the importance of the topic, its originality and sophistication of approach, the feasibility of research objectives, and relevance to the collections.

International scholars are welcome to apply. Applicants whose native language is not English must be able to demonstrate the ability to write and converse fluently in English. In addition, depending on the topic and specific research materials required, applicants should have an understanding of other foreign languages sufficient to make substantive use of appropriate materials. English translations are not always available.


The stipend of $45,000 can be used for any purpose related to the scholar’s research as proposed in the application, including travel to Washington. There are no additional allowances available.

The residency must occur between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017. Scholars are expected to be in residence at the Smithsonian full-time during their award tenures (plans to be away should be discussed in advance, if possible), to devote full-time effort to the research proposed, and to be regular users of the Smithsonian Libraries. Arrangements can be made for the use of other appropriate Washington, D.C. area libraries during the term of the award.

Taxes and Visas

The Smithsonian Institution does not withhold income taxes from stipends. This is the responsibility of the Fellow. Fellows are excluded from Social Security coverage as well, as a Fellow is not an employee of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian Office of Fellowship and Grants will assist with the necessary arrangements for visas for foreign nationals who do not already possess visas, or who wish to change the type of permit held. Normally, visas arranged by the Smithsonian Institution will give the Fellow the status of "Foreign Exchange Visitor" (J-visa). A spouse and minor children may travel on the same visa as the Fellow.

Application date
15 Jan 2016
9 months
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History History & Philosophy of Science Linguistics Literature Media Studies Medical Ethics Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
€ 45.000