Job: Research and Cultural Fellowships at the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Science History Institute (Deadline 15 Jan 2023)

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2023-24 Research and Curatorial Fellowships


Institution Type:  Library
Location:  PennsylvaniaUnited States
Position:  Doctoral FellowFellowPost-Doctoral Fellow


Applications are now open for 2023-24 research and curatorial fellowships
at the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Science History Institute.

The Beckman Center offers fellowships on an annual cycle for scholars whose research would benefit from the use of our collections. The Institute's Othmer Library of Chemical History is home to a world-class collection of research materials dating from the 15th century to the present. Our extensive holdings include thousands of rare books and unique early modern manuscripts, supplemented by over 100,000 modern primary-source volumes and journals. Our archives span nearly 7,000 linear feet, comprising significant business collections, the personal papers of numerous Nobel laureates, and historical photographs documenting laboratories, people, and processes. Our Center for Oral History has produced over 1,200 oral histories and the Museum at the Science History Institute houses thousands of scientific instruments and artifacts and more than 500 works of fine art. 

Collection strengths include:

  • Corporate Records: We possess the corporate records of chemical companies and senior business and scientific figures within them, including the Dow Chemical Company, Rohm & Haas, the Aldrich Chemical Company, and Arnold O. Beckman and Beckman Coulter, Inc.

  • Scientific Organizations: Our archives hold the records of major international scientific organizations such as the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemists, The Chemists’ Club, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, as well as the records of the Gordon Research Conferences.

  • Immigration and Exile: Our oral history and archive collections document scientists’ experiences throughout the twentieth century as they fled Cuba, Hungary, South Africa, China, Turkey, and Germany. Archival collections include the papers of Gabor Levy, Ernest Ludwig Eliel, and most recently Georg Bredig and his son Max; the Bredig Archive collection consists of correspondence, books, photographs, and scientific notes smuggled out of Germany during World War II and bears witness to Bredig’s significant scientific contributions and his family’s struggle to survive the Holocaust.

  • Food Science: We possess substantial collections documenting and analyzing the production, packaging, and marketing of food, including advertisements, printed ephemera, recipe books, and photographs. Subjects include food additives and adulteration, flavoring essences, and safety standards, as well as substances such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and margarine.
  • Information Science: We hold the papers, oral history, and extensive works of Eugene Garfield, as well as oral histories of several early information scientists and historical materials including punch cards, card punching equipment and documentation of the patenting of LCDs.
  • Materials Science: The Othmer Library holds substantial resources on materials science topics across six centuries, including inorganic and organic chemistry, mineralogy, mining and metallurgy, geochemistry, and astrochemistry. Our museum holdings preserve the diverse material heritage of chemistry, from early handheld analytical balances to late twentieth-century mass spectrometers.
  • Modern Bioscience and Medicine: We hold broad primary and secondary source collections covering molecular biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, physiology, pharmacology, toxicology, balneology, and agriculture.
  • Women in Science: In addition to a range of materials related to prominent female chemists (see below), our collections include oral histories of women in the chemical industry, images of women working in laboratory and industrial settings, women’s laboratory and lecture notes, and numerous historical materials and objects related to women's health.
  • Chemists: Our Archives hold the papers of numerous notable polymer chemists, such as Carl Marvel, Daniel W. Fox, and the Nobel laureate Paul Flory. Other Nobel laureates in the archival collection include Sir John Pople, Alan MacDiarmid, Paul Lauterbur, John Fenn, Robert Bruce Merrifield, Johann Deisenhofer, and Richard Smalley. Additionally, our library collections contain a range of materials related to prominent female chemists including Marie Curie, Irène Joliot-Curie, Bettye Washington Greene, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, Stephanie Kwolek, and Rosalyn Yalow.
  • Alchemy: Our rare books collection includes a world-class collection of hundreds of manuscripts and published sources relating to Renaissance and early modern alchemy, as well as books of secrets.
  • Fine Art: We hold more than 500 works of art including oil paintings and portraits, prints, sculpture, multimedia works, and nontraditional media, depicting alchemists, early medical practitioners, chemists, and the modern chemical industry.
  • Color: The applications of materials science in the world of color are represented across our collections, including home and industrial dyes and dyeing, pigments, enamels, gunpowder and pyrotechnics, and color theory.
  • Science Education: Pedagogical materials in our scientific instrument collections include some 170 different chemistry sets from all over the world, molecular models, and science kits used for both instruction and play. Related archival documents include lecture notes, such as Louis Pasteur’s on stereochemistry, as well as letters between scientists concerning the state of scientific education, and the library holds an extensive collection of scientific textbooks.

More information and search tools for all of our collections can be found at


Applications are open for the following 2022-23 fellowships:

Curatorial Fellowship (2 years)

Hosted by the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry, this two-year position integrates fellows as members of staff across the Institute. Curatorial fellows assist with ongoing projects at the Institute and enjoy multiple career training, portfolio building, networking, and mentorship opportunities in special collections, while 20 percent of the fellows’ time is reserved for independent research.
This fellowship is intended for individuals with advanced degrees who are seeking professional opportunities outside of academia. Graduate, early career, and career-changing researchers are encouraged to apply. Scholars from any relevant field with a demonstrated interest in the history of science will be considered. Applicants for a curatorial fellowship must hold an advanced degree in their field (MA or MS required, PhD preferred) by July 2022. Applicants to the curatorial fellowship program must be authorized to work in the United States. This is a benefits eligible staff position with a salary of US$50,000 per year and an annual US$1,000 stipend for travel and professional development.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (12 months)

Postdoctoral research fellowships are open to researchers who have earned a doctoral degree within the last seven years and graduate students who will have defended their dissertations by the end of July 2023. These fellowships are intended to support 12 months of full-time research and writing that will make use of our collections. Fellows will participate in Beckman Center scholarly programs, including the Works in Progress writing group and Fellows’ Talks lecture series. Postdoctoral fellowship stipends are US$50,000, paid in monthly installments, with an annual US$1,000 stipend for travel and professional development and an additional available reimbursement of up to US$2,500 for health insurance.

Dissertation Fellowships (9 months)

These fellowships are open to graduate students whose PhD dissertation proposals have been accepted by their respective university departments. These fellowships are intended to support nine months of full-time research and writing that will make use of our collections. Fellows will participate in Beckman Center scholarly programs, including the Works in Progress writing group and Fellows’ Talks lecture series. The stipend is US$27,500, with an additional available reimbursement of up to US$2,500 for health insurance.

Short-Term Fellowships (1 - 4 months)

These fellowships are open to all scholars and researchers, irrespective of career stage or educational credentials, who plan to work closely with the Institute’s collections on an independent research project. Short-term fellowship stipends are US$3,000 per month, intended to defray the costs of travel, accommodation, and living expenses in Philadelphia.

Distinguished Fellowships (4 months)

These fellowships are open to established scholars who are able to spend a semester or equivalent period of 4 months in residence at the Institute. Distinguished fellows work closely with the Institute’s collections on an independent research project addressing the history of chemical or molecular science, broadly construed. They also participate in Beckman Center programs and contribute to the fellowship community in a mentorship capacity. The stipend is $20,000, paid in monthly installments. Candidates should apply via the short-term fellowship application and may opt for their project to be considered within both categories.


The deadline for the Fall 2022 call for fellowship applications is January 15, 2023.

See our website for our guide for applicants and instructions on how to apply:
Contact us with any questions at



For information, our guide for applicants, and instructions on how to apply, see
Contact us with any questions at

Primary Category:History of Science, Medicine, and Technology
Secondary Categories:Art / Art History
Business History / Economic History / Studies
Childhood and Education
Digital Humanities
Early Modern History and Period Studies
Environmental History / Studies
Immigration History / Studies
Intellectual History
Labor History / Studies
Oral History
Posting Date:11/21/2022
Closing Date01/31/2023
Categories: Announcement
Keywords: Job