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Scholars Selected for Research Fellowships at the Washington Library

MOUNT VERNON, VA – Mount Vernon has selected 24 leading history scholars who will receive fully-funded research fellowships at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington (Washington Library) during the 2020-2021 academic year. These fellows will study on site at the Washington Library for up to six months beginning this fall. 

Now in its eighth year, the Washington Library’s fellowship program has become a highly sought-after honor for academics researching topics related to George Washington, his life, and the founding era.  These awards also provide a welcome opportunity for scholars to work on their research projects, which are reviewed by an independent jury of academics.  While in residence, the fellows become an important part of the Mount Vernon community. They take part in day-to-day activities at the estate and library. The scholars are frequently called upon to share their findings in formal settings and casual gatherings for staff, other visiting scholars, and special guests.

“One of the most exciting things we do here at the Washington Library is to bring in a new group of research fellows every year,” said Kevin Butterfield, executive director for the Washington Library. “They will be coming to Mount Vernon to do important and fascinating work, on everything from George Washington’s greenhouse to colonial-era music to black refugees in the age of the American Revolution. We look forward to learning from these scholars while they’re here.”

Research fellowships less than three months provide a stipend of $3,000 per month, three-month fellowships provide $10,000, and six-month fellowships provide $20,000. All awards include onsite housing, as well as round-trip airfare or mileage reimbursement for one trip to and from Mount Vernon.  For more information, please visit

The 2020-2021 Mount Vernon Research Fellows include the following scholars, listed with their topic of study:

Jessica Anthony

Washington In Extremis: A Novel

Anthony is lecturer in English and director of creative writing at Bates College.

Annette Atkins, Ph.D.

Walking Across Mount Vernon: Slippers, Boots, and Barefeet, 1760 – 1820

Atkins is professor emerita of History at Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict (Minnesota). 

Kristen E. Beales, Ph.D.

Spirited Exchanges: The Religion of the Marketplace in Early America

Beales received her Ph.D. in American History from William & Mary in 2019 and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University.

Keith Buetler, Ph.D.

Mount Vernon as a Memory Palace, 1799-Today

Beutler is Professor of History at Missouri Baptist University.

Scott E. Casper, Ph.D.

Documenting Mount Vernon's Enslaved Community, 1802-1861

Casper is Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Cynthia E. Chin, Ph.D.

Embodied and Envoiced: The Global and Local Nexus of Martha Washington's Silk Gown

Chin is a material culture historian working on the embodied global ecosystems of objects in British North America.

Frank Cogliano, Ph.D.

The Relationship between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

Cogliano is Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh, where he also serves as the University's Dean International for North America.

Charles Stuart Clark

First Son: The Life and Legacy of George Washington Parke Custis

Clark, a Veteran Journalist, is exploring the life of George Washington Parke Custis, an under-sung “child of Mount Vernon.”

Lukas Etter, Ph.D.

Benjamin Banneker, Frances ‘Fanny’ Bassett Washington, and Early Republic Arithmetic

Etter is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the American Literature section of the Seminar für Anglistik, University of Siegen (Germany).

David K. Hildebrand, Ph.D.

The Colonial Music Institute Moves to Mount Vernon: New Access and Purpose for Cultural Historical Records and Applications

Hildebrand is a returning research fellow whose work integrates music more fully into the Library’s offerings and ongoing programming.

Vitor Izecksohn, Ph.D.

Race and Militias in Colonial Rio de Janeiro and the Provinces of Massachusetts and Virginia, 1750-1775

Izecksohn is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Program of Social History at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Recipient of the Society of Colonial Wars Fellowship.

Cynthia A. Kierner, Ph.D.

The Tory’s Wife: Jane Spurgin and her Family in Revolutionary America

Kierner is a Professor of History at George Mason University.

Recipient of the Amelie W. Cagle Fellowship.

Jean B. Lee, Ph.D.

Mount Vernon and the Nation: From the Revolution to the Civil War

Lee is Professor of History, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a specialist in the American Revolution. 

Turk McCleskey, Ph.D.

Debt Litigation and Intercolonial Rivalry at Fort Pitt, 1773-1775

McCleskey is a member of the Virginia Military Institute’s Department of History. 

Lisa McGunigal, Ph.D.

Mount Vernon Ladies' Association: Restoring and Changing the 19th Century Patriotic Landscape

McGunigal is a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Timothy Andrew Murray, Ph.D.

The Comparative Historical Archaeology of Plantations in Virginia and the Great Estates of eastern Australia 1788 -1840

Murray is Charles La Trobe Professor of Archaeology at La Trobe University (Australia), as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Humanities in Australia and the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Charles P. Neimeyer, Ph.D.

Lieutenant General George Washington: The Politics of Command, 1775 – 1781

Neimeyer recently retired as the Director of the Marine Corps History Division and Gray Research Center at Marine Corps University at Quantico, VA.

Tyson F. Reeder, Ph.D.

Foreign Intrigues: James Madison, Party Politics, and Foreign Meddling in Early America

Reeder is an editor with the Papers of James Madison and affiliated assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Corcoran Department of History.

Monica Rico, Ph.D.

George Washington’s Greenhouse: Horticultural Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Rico is an Associate Professor of History at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she also teaches in the environmental studies program.

Recipient of the Dr. William M. and Betty H. Busey Family Fellowship.

Andrew W. Robertson, Ph.D.

Democracy in the Early Republic: America’s Other ‘Peculiar Institution'

Robertson teaches at the Graduate Center and at Lehman College, City University of New York, and is currently finishing a book entitled Democracy in the Early Republic: America’s Other ‘Peculiar Institution.’ 

Seynabou Thiam-Pereira

A Comparative study of the free black loyalists in the Maritime Provinces (1783-1812)

Thiam-Pereira is a Ph.D candidate in American Civilization at the University of Paris VIII (Vincennes Saint-Denis).

Hannah Knox Tucker

George Washington’s Maritime Marketplace: Networks, Credit, and Intelligence in the Maritime Chesapeake, 1720-1776

Tucker is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Virginia studying early American History.

Recipient of the James C. Rees Entrepreneurship Fellowship.

Maurizio Valsania, Ph.D.

George Washington: Portrait of the First American Male

Valsania is Professor of American history at the University of Turin, Italy.

Recipient of the James C. Rees Fellowship on the Leadership of George Washington.

Rachel Walker, Ph.D.

Founding Faces: Power, Politics, and Popular Science in Early America

Walker is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hartford.


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