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Horatio Alger Fellowship applications due May 31

March 2, 2017

The NIU Department of Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) is now accepting applications for the 2017 Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture.

The Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture was established over a decade ago by generous donors from the Horatio Alger Society and is awarded annually to support scholarly research using materials from the libraries’ major holdings in American popular culture.

These holdings include the Albert Johannsen and Edward T. LeBlanc Collections of more than 50,000 dime novels (precursors to pulp novels), the nation’s preeminent collections related to Horatio Alger Jr. and Edward Stratemeyer, as well as significant holdings in children’s series literature (“Nancy Drew” and “Tom Swift”), comics, science fiction and fantasy literature.

Last year’s award went to research projects by two graduate students highlighting the RBSC’s popular culture collection holdings.

NIU Ph.D. candidate in English Fredrik R. Stark used nautically-themed dime novels by Roger Starbuck to advance his dissertation on maritime literature. Jason L. Kartez, a graduate student in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explored visual imagery from the covers of Horatio Alger Jr. and other series literature, as well as dime novels, to investigate the differences between idealized outer appearances and how they relate to social acceptability for the period versus inner truth.

Applications for the 2017 fellowship are due May 31. While preference is given to applicants who signify an interest in conducting research related to Horatio Alger Jr., there are no limitations on research topics for the Fellowship.

RBSC at NIU holds approximately 175,000 volumes, ranging from medieval manuscript leaves and early printed books to present-day private press and popular culture materials. RBSC materials are available to the public 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The RBSC provides additional access to its collections through a robust schedule of class sessions and exhibitions. To schedule a class session, private tour or research appointment, please contact the curator of RBSC, Lynne M. Thomas, at [email protected].