Scholarship Endowment Campaign

The Manuscript Society is engaged in a campaign to raise more than $100,000 to support its scholarship program. The Society’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted at its 2008 annual meeting in Arizona to initiate the effort and designated former Society President Robert K. O’Neill to lead the campaign.

“Our scholarship program is one of the facets that sets the Manuscript Society apart from other organizations and reflects our interest as serious collectors, archivists, librarians and others in preserving and collecting manuscripts which help us understand both the past and the present,” O’Neill remarked,

The annual yield on the scholarship fund will be used primarily to support the Society’s Richard Maass Memorial Research Grant, named in memory of humanitarian, benefactor and legendary collector Richard Maass, one of the founders of the Manuscript Society. To qualify, applicants must be pursuing a graduate degree at an accredited College or University which holds institutional membership in the Manuscript Society and be formally sponsored by that institutional member.

First established for academic year 1999-2000, this grant, currently set at $5,000, offers graduate students help with expenses related directly to their research using original manuscripts. To date, eight students have been awarded full grants, and a ninth is to be chosen shortly. In addition, two students have been awarded partial grants.

Elizabeth Yale of Harvard University, for example, received the 2005-2006 award to study the circulation of seventeenth-century English scientific manuscripts–examining “the central role manuscripts played in the dissemination of scientific thought.” Until 2005-06, these scholarships were funded through the individual generosity of Society members, including Anthony Mourek, who first proposed establishing the scholarship, Diana Herzog, Charles Sigety, Herbert Rubin, and Andrew Maass. In 2004, the Society’s Board voted to fund the scholarship directly from monies set aside for this purpose. But these funds were not sufficient to deal with the long-term needs of the scholarship program, and the Society began to explore the feasibility of establishing an endowed fund that would perpetually fund the scholarship program.

A generous bequest to the scholarship fund from former Society member Father Bradley McCormick has now taken the Society over the half way mark towards its goal. The Board has authorized the Scholarship Committee to launch a fund raising campaign to raise the balance needed to bring the fund to at least $100,000.

Since the Society also supports select local scholarships at institutions hosting its Annual Meeting programs, the need is actually greater than $100,000. Every effort will therefore be made to establish a fund sufficient to meet all the Society’s scholarship needs. These scholarships not only encourage and promote the use of original manuscripts in research, but they also generate greater interest in the Society and its mission, especially among younger people.

If you are interested in contributing to this endowed scholarship fund, you may contact Robert O’Neill directly at the John J. Burns Library, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467; tel. 617454-6526; e-mail: oneillro@bc.edu. Or you may send a contribution directly to the Society’s Executive Director, Shirley Sands, at: 14003 Rampart Court, Baton Rouge, LA; tel 225-753-4988; e-mail Sands@manuscript.org. Please note that your tax-deductible donation is to be directed to the endowed scholarship fund.

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