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Fellowships, Prizes & a New Scholars Program supported by the Bibliographical Society of America to promote the study and research in books

The Bibliographical Society of America recently announced the support of a number of fellowships and prizes in the field of book history. Bibliographical study and research goes to the core ILAB's work and we recommend scholars, academics and publishers to look into these various options if based in the United States.


In keeping with the central value the Bibliographical Society of America places on bibliography as a critical framework, the Society funds a number of fellowships to promote inquiry and research in books and other textual artefacts in both traditional and emerging formats.

Bibliographical projects may range chronologically from the study of clay tablets and papyrus rolls to contemporary literary texts and born-digital materials. Topics relating to books and manuscripts and material texts of all kinds in any field and of any period are eligible for consideration as long as they include analysis of the physical object – that is, the handwritten, printed, or other textual artifact – as historical evidence.

Full details on fellowship opportunities offered, eligibility requirements, and the application process are available on the BSA website at

Awards range from $2,500 to $6,000. A list of past Fellowship winners and their projects is also available on the BSA website at

William L. Mitchell Prize

The Mitchell Prize for research on British serials was endowed to honor William L. Mitchell, former librarian at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, where he was curator of the Richmond P. and Marjorie N. Bond Collection of 18th-Century British Newspapers and Periodicals and of the Edmund Curll Collection. The Prize serves as an encouragement to scholars engaged in bibliographical scholarship on 18th-century periodicals published in English or in any language (including indigenous languages) within the British Isles, its colonies, former colonies, and occupied territories including those in North America, Australia, the Caribbean, South Africa, and modern-day Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. 18th-century periodicals are defined as serial publications produced no earlier than 1688, and no later than the first decade of the 19th century; subject materials must be firmly rooted within the 1700-1800 time period.

The Bibliographical Society of America invites submissions for its seventh William L. Mitchell Prize for Bibliography or Documentary Work on Early British Periodicals or Newspapers.

Justin G. Schiller Prize

Endowed by Justin G. Schiller, a dealer in antiquarian children’s books and past member of the BSA Council, the Schiller Prize for Bibliographical Work on Pre-20th-Century Children’s Books is intended to encourage scholarship in the bibliography of historical children’s books. It brings a cash award of $3,000 and a year’s membership in the Society.

The 2019 winner was Maroussia Oakley for her book The Book and Periodical Illustrations of Arthur Hughes: A Spark of Genius 1832-1914. Oak Knoll Press & Private Libraries Association, 2016.

The next Schiller Prize will be awarded at the Society’s 2022 Annual Meeting. Nominations, with copies of the monographs, PDF copies of articles, and/or links to websites, must be completed by 15 October 2021.

St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize

Funded by the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, this prize encourages scholarship in the bibliography of American history and literature. Awarded every three years, the prize brings a cash award of $2,000 and a year’s membership in the Society.

Submissions for the Mercantile Library Prize should concentrate on some aspect of American history and culture in territories that now comprise the United States, or on literature by American authors, or literature intended for publication in territories that now comprise the United States. They should involve research in bibliography and printing history broadly conceived and focus on the book (the physical object) as historical evidence for studying topics such as the history of book production, publication, distribution, collecting, or reading. Studies of the printing, publishing, and allied trades, as these relate to American history and literature, are also welcome.

New Scholars Program

The Bibliographical Society of America’s New Scholars Program promotes the work of scholars new to bibliography, broadly defined to include the creation, production, publication, distribution, reception, transmission, and subsequent history of all textual artifacts. This includes manuscript, print, and digital media, from clay and stone to laptops and iPads.

The New Scholars Award is $1,000, with a $500 travel stipend. Three awards are made each year as part of a two-pronged program:

  1. New Scholars present fifteen-minute talks on their current, unpublished bibliographical research during the program preceding a program preceding the Society’s Annual Meeting, held each January. The 2022 Annual Meeting will be held in New York on January 28, 2022.
  2. Expanded versions of New Scholars’ papers are submitted to the editor of The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (PBSA) for publication, subject to peer review.