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Deadline: Postponed. Please check back later. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Application Form: MS Word - PDF (59K)

  • Short-term Kislak Fellowships allowing scholars to conduct research based on items from the Kislak Collection.
  • Open to scholars worldwide
  • Stipend: $4,200 per month (up to four months)

Further information, please contact:
     John W. Kluge Center
     phone: (202) 707-3302 | fax: (202) 707-3595 | email: scholarly@loc.gov

The Library of Congress offers short-term fellowships for independent scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and college and university faculty to conduct research based on items from the Kislak Collection.

The Kislak Collection spans three millennia and includes masterworks of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean and rare books, manuscripts, documents, maps, and artwork from the earliest records of European contact through the period of exploration and settlement the Americas. Complementing the books and manuscripts is an extensive research library of secondary sources.

The Kislak Fellows Program supports scholarly research that contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the cultures and history of the Americas. It provides an opportunity for a period of up to four 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.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a representative selection of the types of items available for research in the Kislak Collection.

Additional items for research may be found on:

Fellowship applicants are encouraged to contact Barbara A. Tenenbaum, curator of the Kislak Collection, to discuss specific areas of interest. For more information about the Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress, please read the news release

Applicant Eligibility

Independent scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and college and university faculty in all disciplines. There is no degree requirement for applicants for the short-term fellowship. However, relevant educational information should be supplied in an application.

Tenure & Stipend

$4,200 per month for up to four months of research, which must be conducted at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and begin within four months of the announcement of the award.


Cover letter; Curriculum vitae (no more than 600 words); Research proposal (no more than 600 words); Two letters of reference


January 31 (Awards will be announced by August)

Send Materials by Fax or Email to

FAX 202-707-3595 Email scholarly@loc.gov


Qualified scholars will pursue research that uses materials from the Kislak Collection and contributes to a greater understanding of the cultures and history of the Americas. Within 90 days of the conclusion of the Fellowship, each Kislak Fellow will prepare an article manuscript based on his/her research and submit the manuscript to an appropriate journal for publication, along with a copy of the manuscript for the Library's records. When the manuscript is published, the Fellow should send a copy to the Library along with information on how the Library can acquire permission to post an electronic copy of the publication on its website.

In addition, Kislak Fellows will submit a brief final report on their work, its results and plans for anticipated future research. Fellows may be requested to give a public presentation at the Library and/or participate in seminars or symposia related to their topic of study.

During the course of their fellowship, Kislak Fellows will have opportunities to meet with other Library scholars and curators, and on occasion with Members of Congress and Congressional staff.


At least two fellowships will be offered during the next round. (Awards will be announced by August.)

Housing is not provided by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress does not supply health insurance coverage but can provide contacts with commercial providers.

For more information about the Kislak short-term fellowships, contact:
    Office of Scholarly Programs at the Library of Congress
   101 Independence Ave, S.E. Washington, D.C. 20540-4860
   Tel 202-707-3302 | Fax 202-707-3595 | Email scholarly@loc.gov

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.

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