Applications for the 2020 fellowship are now closed.


The Audrey and William H. Helfand Fellowship in the History of Medicine and Public Health supports research using Academy Library resources for scholarly study of the history of medicine and public health with an emphasis on visual culture. It is intended specifically for a scholar in residence at the Academy Library. Preference will be given to applications which focus on the use of visual materials held in the Academy collections and in other area institutions.

The Academy's Library holds a particularly rich collection of images related to the history of medicine and public health dating from the early modern era into the twentieth century. A diverse collection, including illustrated books, prints, broadsides, pamphlets, and printed medical ephemera, documents changes in clinical medicine and research, the evolution of medical practice, the history of public health and public responses to these developments.  The collections form an extraordinary primary resource for scholars in history, popular culture, the sciences and social sciences, the history of printing and the graphic arts.

The Helfand Fellow is expected to spend at least four weeks in New York City, working in The New York Academy of Medicine Library. Fellows are required to make a public presentation about their project at the Academy, to contribute a post for our blog, and to submit a final report on work done at the Academy Library by the end of the award period.

Eligibility Requirements

We invite applications from anyone, regardless of citizenship, academic discipline, or academic status. Preference will be given to (1) those whose research will take advantage of resources that are uniquely available at the Academy, (2) individuals in the early stages of their careers, and (3) applications which include an emphasis on the use of visual materials held within the Academy’s collections and elsewhere. Applicants should provide information in their proposals about the collection items they plan to use, either by including a bibliography of resources they intend to consult or discussing those items in detail in the context of the application essay.

Please note: If you are planning to submit a proposal for a project that relies heavily on 19th and 20th century serial publications or monographs published during the second half of the 20th century, please contact the Historical Collections Librarian by email at or call 212-822-7313 to discuss your project before your submit your application.  Changes in the Library that are scheduled to take place beginning in the second half of 2019 may affect researchers who work with those materials.

Application Process and Instructions

Please read the instructions below to assist you in completing the application form. If you have questions about the instructions, the application process, or the Library’s collections, please call 212-822-7313 or send email to Because visual materials are sometimes difficult to access through the Library's online catalog, applicants are encouraged to call or email for more information about the collections.  This is especially true at this moment, as there will be changes to the Library collections beginning in the second half of 2019.

A complete application includes: 

Please submit your application electronically.
Email your materials as attachments to
Attachments must be in Word, Adobe PDF, or Rich Text Format.
Please include the appropriate extension in filenames, (i.e. “SmithFellowshipApp.pdf”)
Letters of recommendation should be emailed as attachments to by the recommender, not by the applicant.


Current applications are for fellowships that may be used between January 1 and December 31, 2020. Applications are due by the end of the day on Friday, August 23, 2019. Letters of recommendation are due by the end of the day on Monday, August 26, 2019. Applicants will be notified of whether or not they have received a fellowship by Friday, October 4, 2019.

Award Information

Each Helfand fellow receives a stipend of $5,000 to support travel, lodging and incidental expenses for a flexible period between January 1 and December 31, 2020. The Helfand Fellow is expected to spend at least four weeks in New York City, working at The New York Academy of Medicine Library. Besides completing a research project, each fellow will be expected to make a public presentation at the Academy, contribute a post to our blog, and submit a final report.

The selection committee, comprising prominent historians and medical humanities scholars, will choose the fellow from the pool of applications. These fellowships are awarded directly to the individual applicant and not to the institution where he or she may normally be employed. None of the fellowship money is to be used for institutional overhead. There is a single application for the Klemperer and Helfand fellowships. Applicants do not need to specify for which award they are applying; the committee will make the decision about which fellowship would be most appropriate.


Any publications resulting from work supported by the Fellowships must acknowledge the assistance received from The New York Academy of Medicine Library. Copies of such publications should be submitted to the Academy Library.

Contact information

Historical Collections
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Telephone: 212-822-7313

Current & Previous Recipients 

Matthew Davidson, "Health Under Occupation: Haitian Encounters with U.S. Imperial Medicine, 1915-1934"


Julie Powell, “Body Politics: Gender and the Internationalization of Prosthetic Care, 1914-1925” 


Courtney Thompson, "The Criminal Race: Crime, Violence, and the Phrenological Imaginary In Nineteenth-century America"


Daniel Goldberg, "Truth, Doubt and Objectivity: Early X-ray Experimentation and Use in New York City"


Laura Robson, "Using Vesalius: Adapting Images and Transforming Texts in Sixteenth Century Medical Manuals"


Samir Boumediene, "Appropriating the Medicinal Plants of Spanish America (1570-1750)"


Alessandro Laverda, "Anatomy and Myth: The Contest between Apollo and Marsyas in Anatomy Books of the Early Modern Age in Europe"


Cindy Stelmackowich, "Picturing Pathology: Morbid Anatomy Diagrams, Pathological Atlases and Disease, 1800-1840"


No Helfand Fellow


No Helfand Fellow


Kelina Gotman, "Zooanthropy"


Marni Kessler, "Anxiety and the Maternal Substitute: Edgar Degas' New Orleans Paintings"


Mary Hunter, "Shared Visions? Representations of Bodies in late Nineteenth Century American and French Art and Medicine"


Sabine Arnaud, “Hysteria: Fictions and Politics of Truths”


Bryan Waterman, “Writing Yellow Fever in Late-Eighteenth-Century New York City”


Angus Fletcher, “Paracelsian Medicine and the Experience of Bodily Consciousness in Seventeenth-Century English Literature”


Vanessa Ryan, "The Material Mind: Victorian Physiological Psychology and the Narration of Consciousness"


Michael R. Blackie, "The Sensorium in Splints: Some Permutations of S. Weir Mitchell's Use of Rest"


Richard A. Barney, "Eyeing the Divine: The Physiology of the Sublime in Early Modern Britain"


Carolyn Thomas de la Pena, "Powering the Body"