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National Stereoscopic Association Research Fellowship

About the Fellowship

The Prints & Photographs Division's National Stereoscopic Association Research Fellowship is made possible by a gift from the National Stereoscopic Association (NSA) for fellowship and lecture funding. The purpose of the award is to support research within the Prints & Photographs holdings of stereoscopic photography and the unparalleled photographic history collections at the Library of Congress--including over 15 million photographs, rare publications, manuscript materials, historic newspapers, and extensive subscription database access.

The Fellowship committee will award Fellowships annually to be used to cover travel to and from Washington, D.C., accommodations, and other research expenses to assist fellows in their ongoing scholarly research and writing projects on stereoscopic photography, or more broadly within the field of photographic history to the extent that research is connected in some manner to the Library's holdings on the format.

A list of past fellows and descriptions of their projects is available at the bottom of the page.

Eligibility and Guidelines

Graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, independent scholars, creators, and other researchers with a need for Fellowship support are encouraged to apply. Individuals who are not U.S. residents but who otherwise meet the above qualifications may apply and be considered for a Fellowship, contingent upon visa eligibility. The Library of Congress is not able to assist with granting a visa.

In the interest of increasing awareness and extending documentation of Library of Congress collections, Fellows are required to make use of the Library's collections, be in residence at the Library during the award period, and share information derived from their research through publication in Stereo World or on the Library's Picture This blog, a public lecture, presentation at the following National Stereoscopic Association Convention, or other event, either during their residency or within six months of completing their research at the Library. Each Fellow must also notify the selection committee if their work results in formal publication and provide a hard-copy or online access to the work.

Past awards have ranged from one to three weeks in duration.

To Apply

Completed applications are due on March 1st, 2024. The Fellowship must be completed between September 1st, 2024 and August 31st, 2025.

Application materials described below will be accepted only via email submission as PDF or Word document attachments to: [email protected]. The information requested in the cover sheet section can be completed on the linked application form or copied and pasted from below into the text of your email.

Application for the National Stereoscopic Association Research Fellowship - Word version

Questions should be addressed to:
Micah Messenheimer
Phone: (202) 707-0591
Email: [email protected]

National Stereoscopic Association Research Fellowship Application Cover Sheet

Telephone: (___)__________________
Home Address:______________________________________________________________________
Institutional Affiliation (or specify "Independent Researcher"):____________________________________
U.S. resident?:_________________ If not, specify visa status/type: _______________________________
Visa sponsor's name and contact information: ____________________________ (___)_____________________

Additional Materials Required

  1. An up-to-date resume or brief curriculum vita providing information as to education, degrees received, fellowships and honors, publications, positions held, and other pertinent information. __ (check if enclosed)
  2. A one-page abstract (250 words maximum) that specifies how the proposed project is related to research on stereoscopic photography, or the field of photographic history more broadly; and identifies specifically which Library collections the applicant intends to utilize in research during the proposed period of residency at the Library of Congress. __ (check if enclosed)
  3. A description of the proposed project (no longer than five pages) including (a) accomplishments to date, (b) a timetable for completion, (c) an itemized budget (including necessary travel and research expenses that should not include foreign travel), (d) plans for use of specific Library of Congress collections, (e) any visual materials that support the project proposal (no more than 5 images, inclusion in project description or separate JPEG attachments acceptable), and (e) other pertinent information, including plans for publication. __ (check if enclosed)
  4. Two letters of recommendation.
    Names, affiliations, and addresses of 2 references from whom you have requested letters of recommendation:
    1. ___________________________________________________________________________
    2. ___________________________________________________________________________

    Letters of recommendation must be sent directly to the Fellowship committee, preferably emailed using institutional email address and/or including signature, to [email protected] or mailed to:

    Prints and Photographs Division
    Library of Congress
    101 Independence Ave., SE
    Washington, D.C. 20540-4730
    Attn: Micah Messenheimer, National Stereoscopic Association Research Fellowship

    Please give your recommenders copies of your proposal and ask them to comment on your strengths and weaknesses, the value of the proposed project, and your abilities to carry out the project as described.

  5. Non-resident applicants must include a letter from their visa sponsor affirming their visa type and eligibility to accept monetary compensation for research through the National Stereoscopic Photography Research Fellowship for the term requested.

All materials must be received by March 1st, 2024, in order to be considered for the Fellowship. All materials received after this date will be held for the following year’s review period. Applications lacking any of these required components will automatically be eliminated from review.

National Stereoscopic Association Research Fellowships Awarded


Meg Hankel, a PhD Candidate in the History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, conducted research at the Library in March 2023 for “Expanding Borders: Nation-building, Colonialism, and the 3-D Image in the Nineteenth Century,” the second chapter of her dissertation, The Magic of 3-D: A History of Stereoscopy in Art and Visual Culture, which examines the legacy of stereoscopic images in popular media and artistic practice. Hankel studied holdings of stereographs from the four major geologic surveys of the American West during the 1870s to investigate how the three-dimensional image served the purpose of nation-building.

Eric Kurland, a stereographic filmmaker and founder of 3-D SPACE: The Center for Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education, studied the relationship between commercial stereographs and motion pictures between 1900 and 1935. While at the Library in late-April and early-May, 2023, he researched sequences of stereographic cards submitted for copyright registration by the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago (ESCo), a producer of images for coin-operated penny arcade stereoscopes that operated a studio in Los Angeles, CA, that featured silent film era actors as stereograph subjects. Kurland conducted additional research in the Library’s Moving Image Research Center on related motion picture films.

Melody Davis, Professor of Art History at Russell Sage College, researched images for “Racialized Performance in Narrative Stereoviews of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries,” an analysis of depictions of race in the history of narrative stereography between 1860 and 1910. During her fellowship in June 2023, Davis explored stereoscopic tropes, such as blackface minstrelsy, food as a racialized subject, and notions of the body as a “part object,” where specific body parts become focal points of caricature and stereotyping. Davis also examined the Library’s holdings of sheet music illustrations, ephemera, cartoons, advertisements, and trade cards to locate additional iterations of this subject matter.

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  October 24, 2023
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