Kislak Fellowship Description
The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress invites qualified scholars to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship for advanced research based on the Kislak Collection. The Kislak Collection is a major collection of rare books, manuscripts, historic documents, maps and art of the Americas donated to the Library of Congress by the Jay I. Kislak Foundation of Miami Lakes, Fla. The collection contains some of the earliest records of indigenous peoples in North America and superb objects from the discovery, contact, and colonial periods, especially for Florida, the Caribbean, and Mesoamerica.
The Kislak Fellows Program supports scholarly research that contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the history and cultures of the Americas. It provides an opportunity for a period of up to 8 months of concentrated use of materials from the Kislak Collection and other collections of the Library of Congress, through full-time residency at the Library. The program supports research projects in the disciplines of archaeology, history, cartography, epigraphy, linguistics, ethno-history, ethnography, bibliography and sociology, with particular emphasis on Florida, the circum-Caribbean region and Mesoamerica. We encourage interdisciplinary projects that combine disciplines in novel and productive ways. Select the "Sample Kislak Collection Items" tab for a representative selection of the types of items available for research in the Kislak Collection.
Additional items for research may be found on:
- The Library of Congress Kislak Collection exhibition website, “The Cultures and History of the Americas”
- The website of the Jay I. Kislak Foundation
- The Library of Congress Rare Book Reading Room
Applicants may be of any nationality and must possess a Ph.D. degree, or equivalent terminal degree, awarded by the application deadline date of the year they apply.
Tenure & Stipend
The Kislak Fellowship for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas is for a period of up to 8 months, at a stipend of $4,200 per month, for residential research at the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress will pay stipends monthly by means of electronic transfer to a U.S. bank account. Transportation arrangements, housing, and health care insurance and costs are the responsibility of the Fellow. The Library will provide Fellows with information on housing and can provide Fellows with contacts for commercial providers of health care insurance. The Library is required to ensure that nonresident alien visitors maintain minimum levels of medical insurance, and will provide information about insurers that offer qualifying policies to nonresident aliens.
Applicants must submit:
- A completed application form, in English
- A curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages; additional pages will be discarded)
- A single paragraph abstract
- A statement of proposed research (maximum 3 pages)
- An explanation of why the Library of Congress is the required venue for your research (maximum 1 paragraph)
- A bibliography of works you have consulted for your proposal
- 3 letters of reference (in English) from people who have read the research proposal
Successful proposals will clearly indicate the purpose and principal scholarly contribution of the project, and the benefit to the project of working in the Library of Congress using both the Kislak materials and the Library's other collections.
Application materials must be postmarked by the deadline date to be considered. Applicants are urged to consider submitting their application materials online to email@example.com or by fax (202-707-3595) to avoid any problems caused by mail delivery.
The Kislak Fellow is expected to develop research of a publishable quality. As a Library of Congress resident scholar, fellows are also expected to make at least one public presentation about their research and to participate actively in Kluge Center events and programs as appropriate.
Completed application packets, questions, and other requests for information should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the following address. Please note that continuing mail delivery problems at the Library may require submitting the application packet by fax or email, to insure delivery by the deadline date:
The Kislak Fellowship for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas
The John W. Kluge Center / Office of Scholarly Programs
Library of Congress, LJ-120
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540-4860
tel. 202 707-3302; fax 202 707-3595
This fellowship is no longer being offered.
- Application Form (PDF, 110KB)
- Reference Form (PDF, 56KB)
Research Areas: Research related to the discovery, contact, and colonial periods in Florida, the Caribbean, and Mesoamerica using The Jay I. Kislak Collection.
Eligibility: Open to scholars worldwide.
Stipend: $4,200 per month (no more than eight months).
The John W. Kluge Center
phone: (202) 707-3302
fax: (202) 707-3595
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Sample List of Kislak Collection Items Available for Research
Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474-1566) to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-1558)
Manuscript letter, ca. 1528
Dominican Priest Bartolomé de Las Casas was a passionate champion of the rights of the indigenous people of the Americas. In 1502 he left for Hispaniola, in the West Indies, with the governor, Nicolás de Ovando. As a reward for his participation in various expeditions, he was given a royal land grant including labor of the Indian inhabitants as a reward for his participation in various expeditions. Horrified by the Conquistadors' treatment of the Indians, he returned to Spain in 1510 to take holy orders, determined to devote his life to mission work in the Americas. In 1544 Las Casas was named Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico, where he worked to alleviate the burdens of colonialism on the Indians.
Hernando Cortés (1485-1547)
Dowry agreement for Montezuma's daughter, June 27, 1526
Copied from a Spanish manuscript, [Valladolid]. Manuscript, ca. 1750
In this document, Hernando Cortés justifies a large dowry to Doña Isabel, the late Emperor Montezuma's (1480? - 1520) eldest daughter, when she married a nobleman of considerable standing in New Spain. Cortés recounts the importance of Montezuma's aid to the Spanish during the conquest of Mexico. Cortés, who served as guardian for Montezuma's daughters and as Captain General of New Spain, was a generous trustee, granting Doña Isabel lands, several ranches, and Indian labor.
Descripcion de las Costas Yslas Y Vajos desde San Martin una de las Yslas de Barlovento hasta La Havana... Manuscript, Havana? 177? -?
The manuscript is a pilot-guide detailing the hazards of navigation between the island of St. Martin and the ports of Havana, San Juan and Santo Domingo, through the Windward Passage between Hispaniola and Cuba and on to Veracruz in Mexico. A short section covers the route from Veracruz through the Straits of Florida to Cadiz in Spain. In effect, this derrotero [sailing atlas] describes the route of the bullion fleets from the Spanish colonies of the West Indies and Central America to Spain in the 18th century.
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (1519-) to Don Cristóbal de Eraso
Manuscript sailing orders, July 21, 1572
In the age of piracy on the high seas, sailing instructions were top-secret documents upon which rested the security of the king's fleet and his treasure. Here, Menéndez de Avilés, governor of Florida, gives Don Cristóbal de Eraso complicated and detailed instructions for sailing to Spain on the Buenaventura with his fleet, via the islands of Flores and San Miguel. He is admonished not to proceed beyond a designated rendezvous without further instructions from Menéndez, "under penalty of paying with his person and his property for any injury to his Majesty or his royal treasury."
Don Andrés, Aztec notary
Techialoyan land records, with text in Nahuatl
Santa Maria Itztacapan, Mexico. Aztec, seventeenth century, Manuscript on amate (fig tree bark) paper
Techialoyan land records
San Juan Tolcayuca, Mexico. Aztec, seventeenth century, Manuscript map on amate (fig tree bark) paper
Because the Spaniards annihilated the Aztec civilization and burned its archives, surviving examples of Indian codices are rare. This manuscript and map are part of the "Techialoyan" land records created in the seventeenth century using old methods to substantiate native land claims with the Spanish authorities. This map contains indigenous cartographic conventions that differ considerably from those of Europe. For example, one must rotate it for proper viewing. Also, the bell-shapes denote a community, and the trail of footprints depicts a path or road. Documents like these portray the legitimacy of a local community and its rights to a territory.
James I (1566-1625)
Royal Proclamation: Proclaiming Peace with Spain and Forbidding Armed Vessels from England Attacking Spanish Merchant Ships. Given at our Mannour of Greenwich the 23 Day of June, in the First Yeere of our Reign of England, France, and Ireland, London: Robert Barker, 1603
This proclamation was directed at Sir Walter Raleigh and his associates. Raleigh was a thorn in the flesh of James I. Even before the death of Queen Elizabeth he opposed James' claims, and was ready to go to any lengths to prevent his accession to the throne. Consequently, one of James' first acts as King was to dismiss Raleigh from his various offices of State and order cessation of hostilities with Spain. Raleigh was condemned to death on a charge of conspiracy, but was reprieved and imprisoned in the Tower of London where he wrote his unfinished History of the World. Released in 1616, he led a disastrous expedition to Brazil seeking gold. On his return, he was beheaded under his former sentence.
Horatio Nelson (1758-1805)
Account of the proceedings of Captain Nelson of His Majesty's Ship Boreas relative to the illegal trade carried on between the Americans & the British West India Islands, Bound manuscript, 1784-1786
In 1784, Captain Horatio Nelson was given command of the Boreas, a twenty-eight-gun frigate, with orders to enforce the British Navigation Acts that required all imports be carried in English ships. The acts had become a major problem after the end of the American Revolution because American vessels dominated trade between the West Indies and the former colonies. When Nelson seized four illegally laden American ships that had obviously violated the Navigation Acts, the captains sued him for illegal seizure. In the ensuing trial, the judge eventually found in favor of the British navy. However, to avoid arrest and imprisonment, Nelson spent nearly eight months aboard his frigate.
Account of a voyage to Jamaica, Manuscript journal by an English carpenter, 1816-1818
This journal describes a journey from London to Jamaica, life on the island, and a voyage to Wilmington, Delaware, and back to England
Claude Joseph Désiré Charnay (1828-1915)
Photographic album albumen prints, 1859-1860
An album of thirty-five albumen prints is from the first systematic photographic expedition to the ruins at Mitla, Izamal, Chichén Itzá, and Uxmal, Mexico. French photographer and explorer, Désiré Charnay, made the photographs during two seasons of fieldwork in 1859 and 1860. Charnay's work was instrumental in attracting serious scholarly interest in pre-conquest Mexico, thus setting the stage for later intensive archaeological studies of Mesoamerican civilization.
Codex-style vase with sixty hieroglyphs, Red and black on cream ceramic.
Guatemalan lowlands. Maya, Late Classic Period, A.D. 700-900
As in all societies where lineage serves political purposes, the Maya kept dynastic lists in varied forms, including architectural elements, sarcophagi, and ceramic objects. This vessel, with its calligraphic hieroglyphs and restricted palette of red and brown-black on cream, is part of a tradition called "codex style" that is thought to mimic the appearance of Mayan books. Most painted vessels of this type deal with mythological topics, but this example is one of a small set that appears to deal with historical information. The vase records the names and dates of rulers associated with the city-state of Calakmul in the Yucatan, Mexico.