Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies

Department of History, Princeton University

Founded in 1968, The Davis Center for Historical Studies is named after Shelby Cullom Davis '30, who provided a generous gift to assure the continuance of excellence in scholarship and the teaching of history at Princeton University.

Davis Center Initiatives


The Davis endowment funds the following professorships:

  • George Henry Davis '86 Professorship of American History, which honors the donor's father
  • Shelby Cullom Davis '30 Professorship of European History
  • Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professorship in History

Academic Support

In addition, it supports a wide range of academic pursuits:

  • Book purchases for the University Library
  • Resources for exploratory ventures in undergraduate teaching
  • Graduate student fellowships
  • Special research support for members of the department and The Davis Center

Visiting Stone Professorship

In 2001, The Davis Center instituted the Visiting Stone Professorship in honor of Professor Lawrence Stone, the founding director of the Center. The program brings a distinguished historian to Princeton for a short period to deliver lectures and engage in scholarly conversations with the members of the History Department.

Stone Prizes

Yet another important initiative is the award of Stone Prizes to outstanding rising seniors for senior thesis research.

Weekly Seminar Series

Since its inception, The Davis Center's chief function has been to conduct the weekly seminar in which members of the faculty, visitors from other institutions, graduate students, and selected undergraduates participate. For periods of two years, the seminar directs its attention to a single theme or aspect of history.

  • Emphasis on innovation: Topics represent relatively new approaches to the study of history.
  • An interdisciplinary approach: Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary approaches and subjects that span different geographical areas or periods.
  • Ongoing events: Conferences and workshops supplement the seminar series in advancing the exploration of the chosen theme.
  • Important publications: Significant papers developed through these activities are published as thematic collections of essays.

Visiting Davis Fellows

Each year, six to eight scholars are selected out of a large pool of applicants to be in residence in Princeton as Visiting Davis Fellows, where they participate in the seminar and pursue research related to its theme.

Information for Scholars

The deadline for applications and letters of recommendation for fellowships is always December 1 prior to the academic year for which one is applying. Scholars who would like to offer a paper to one of the weekly seminars are asked to send a brief description of their proposal and current curriculum vitae to the Director by the same deadline. The theme for 2016/17 and 2017/18 is Risk and Fortune.

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