NEH-Hagley Postdoctoral Fellowships Announcement

Carol Ressler Lockman's picture



NEH-Hagley Postdoctoral Fellowships Announcement


The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library is pleased to announce the 2018-2019 recipients of the NEH–Hagley Postdoctoral Fellowships on Business, Culture, and Society.  These fellowships support residencies in Hagley’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society by scholars who have received their doctoral degrees, and are made possible by a three-year, $182,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and its Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions.


Dr. Sean Vanatta, Quin Morton Teaching Fellow at Princeton University, has accepted a four-month fellowship.  His project, “Making Credit Convenient: Credit Cards and the Political Economy of Modern America,” uncovers how credit cards became so central to modern economic life.  He explores the expansion of credit networks between the 1950s and the present, showing how state-level regulations in in the United States shaped the emergence of a national and international consumer credit network.  In addition to making revisions to his manuscript, Dr. Vanatta will also be working on a coauthored book (with Peter Conti-Brown of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business) entitled The Banker’s Thumb: The Institutional and Evolutionary History of Bank Supervision in the U.S. and forthcoming with Harvard University Press.


Dr. Karen W. Mahar, Professor of History at Siena College, has accepted a four-month fellowship.  Her project, “Corner Office: The Creation of the American Corporate Elite,” explores how the meaning of white, masculine business leadership developed and changed over the twentieth century.  Focusing on episodes between the 1880s and the 1980s, the project traces the emergence of the white male executive as the custodian of American capitalism, as well as the challenges posed by the civil rights and feminist movements.  To develop several of these episodes, Dr. Mahar will delve into Hagley’s collections on the corporate elite, including John J. Raskob, and the papers of Lois K. Herr, who fought for equal rights for women at AT&T.


Dr. John Patrick Leary, Associate Professor of English at Wayne State University, has accepted a four-month fellowship.  His project, “A Counterhistory of Innovation,” examines how a 17th-century term for religious and political subversion became the contemporary ideal of worldly success.  By turning a skeptical eye to this modern mythology, and combining approaches from theology, art history, business history, economics, gender studies, and literary history, his work will uncover how and when this concept became the dominant sense of creativity and progress.  Dr. Leary will delve into Hagley’s materials on advertising and public relations materials from DuPont, General Motors, and other marketers of consumer technologies, as well as the internal communications of these companies, to understand how businesses defined innovation for their employees, as well as how they disseminated those ideas to the broader public.


For more information about these and other fellowships offered through Hagley, visit  For information about other research fellowships supported by the NEH, visit