Folger Fellowships 2019-20

Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures

Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. "Before Farm to Table" is a unique undergraduate experience held during interterm, January 6-17, 2020.

Fellowships are awarded to select students whose academic work can most profit from intensive research with the staff of the Folger, one of the world’s premier research libraries. Its founder, Henry Clay Folger, graduated from Amherst in 1879 and bequeathed the Library to Amherst upon his death in 1930.

For the 2020 round of fellowships, "Folger Undergraduate Fellows" will take part in an intensive seminar titled, "Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures." Students selected for this program will work collaboratively with the Folger Library's Curator of Manuscripts, Dr. Heather Wolfe, with a group of postdoctoral Folger Fellows, and with CHI Fellow Samantha Presnal to engage in a 360-degree investigation of an 18th-century manuscript recipe book from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection. Students will look at how the book was put together; investigate its users, contributors, and sources; identify seasonal ingredients, preservation methods, and ingredients made available through trade routes and the institutionalized enslavement of millions of African people. They will transcribe, edit, and adapt recipes, uncover implicit knowledge and hidden labor encoded in the recipes, and choose recipes to create together and share in a public presentation.

Seminar sessions address:

  • an introduction to rare materials such as early modern books, manuscripts, and illustrations
  • how to incorporate these materials into research; training in archival research methods and a variety of other research skills useful in many fields
  • a connection to contemporary agricultural and cooking practices
  • a range of research questions in fields as varied as History, Chemistry, Black Studies, The Arts, Antrhopolgy, Religion, English, Creative Writing, Biology, Economics, Political Science, and more.

The 2020 Fellowships take place on campus and include housing and meals. The application deadline is Monday, November 11, 2019

Explore HAMNET


The online catalog of The Folger Shakespeare Library.

HAMNET is the Folger Shakespeare Library’s publicly available online catalog. It contains bibliographic and accession records for many important parts of the collection, including materials published since 1800, rare materials acquired since 1996, manuscript collections and works of art.

Explore HAMNET