Apply for a Travel Award

Kenneth Spencer Research Library is pleased to announce the availability of three travel grants to facilitate research and use of the library’s collections. The amount available for each award is $1,500.
Aerial view the KU campus at sunset, prominently featuring Spencer Research Library and the Campanile.

Available Awards

This award is available to researchers focusing on the African American experience. It is made possible by a generous contribution by KU Professor Emerita Sandra Gautt.

The Spencer Library documents the African American experience in Kansas and the region through extensive collections of personal papers and the records of organizations, businesses, and churches. Other potentially relevant materials can be found in KU's University Archives and the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements.

This award is available for researchers focusing on the Polish 16th and 17th centuries. It is made possible through a generous endowment from Alexander and Valentine Janta.

Polish (and Polish-related) manuscript holdings in Spencer Library include the Graziani-Commendone collection of 16th and 17th century correspondence and other papers about Catholic Church affairs and the Graziani and Commendone families. The manuscripts in Latin, Polish, and Italian include:

  • Letters from Bishop Antonio Maria Graziani to Cardinal Commendone and others, as well as ciphers, speeches, reports, notes, constitutions, etc., about 360 items, 1571-1573. Call number: MS 62.
  • Letterbooks of Cardinal Commendone,16 books, some bound together, 1560-1581. Call numbers: MS 86, MS E97, MS E105.
  • Letterbooks of Bishop Antonio Maria Graziani, 5 volumes, 1596-1599. Call numbers: MS E110, MS D121.
  • Collections of texts, 290 items. Call numbers: MS 87, MS D120, MS D123.
  • Legal documents of Graziani Family, 24 items. Call number: MS 205.
  • Separate manuscript books, 4 items. Call numbers: MS D112, MS B73, MS D118, MS D119.

Early printed books of the 16th and 17th centuries about Poland and its history are held in the Summerfield Collection of Continental European books printed before 1701. In addition to many of the books listed in Janina Hoskins’ Early and Rare Polonica of the 15th-17th Centuries (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1973), Spencer Research Library holds at least 67 titles not listed in Hoskins; see Barbara Backus McCorkle, “Addenda to Hoskins: Polonica,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (PBSA), 69 (1975), 380-388.

This award is available to researchers working on a project that could benefit from using any of the collections at Spencer Research Library. See the Collections section of the Spencer website to learn more about the library's holdings.

Eligibility Criteria

Travel grants will be awarded to faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, or independent researchers living outside a 100 mile radius from Lawrence, Kansas. All three grants are open to U.S. and international researchers. Applicants must document a research agenda requiring the need for in-person access to materials held by Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Grant money may be used for travel, lodging, and other expenses while pursuing research at the library.

Award recipients may be asked to give a brief, informal presentation about their research topic during their visit.

Application Procedures and Deadlines

We are not currently accepting travel award applications. Information about applying for an award for travel to Spencer in 2025 will be posted here in early September. Please check back for updates.

2024 Awardees

Whayne Travel Award

Alyssa P. Cole, University of Florida

Movement Before the Movement: Black Women’s Health Activism in Kansas City

Brooke Thomas, George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center and Africana Research Center at Pennsylvania State University

"To Capture a Vision Fair": Black Sorority Women and the Shift from Respectability Politics to Public Policy, 1935–1975

Spencer Travel Award

Chris Blakley, Occidental College

MS J14 in Motion: Networks Within the “Hindu Animals and Native Trades” Album

Malcolm Noble, Leicester Vaughan College

Queer Uses of Printing and Duplicating Technologies: Magazines and Serials in the Bruce McKinney Collection

Georg N. Schäfer, Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology

Hiding in Plains Sight: Tracing the Emergence of the Anthropocene Between Kansas’ Dust Bowls

Carlisle Yingst, Harvard University

Ephemeral History: Documentary Form and the Everyday in the British Novel, 1720-1850

Previous Awardees

Whayne Travel Award

Dr. Zeb Baker (2017), Miami University

Race and College Football in Post World War II Midwest

Charisse Burden-Stelly (2020), Carleton College

Professional Revolutionary: The Political Theory of Doxey Wilkerson, 1930-1960

Brandon Byrd (2023), Vanderbilt University

Pap: The Life and Lessons of Benjamin Singleton

Brent Campney (2018), University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Black freedom struggle in Kansas, World War II to the 1970s

The Peculiar Climate of This Region: Racism, Repression, and Resistance in the Midwest

Paul Fowler III (2017), University of Massachusetts Amherst

Civil Rights Organizations in the Midwest

Curtis Inabinett, Jr. (2016), Charleston State University

Dr. William P. Foster and the Florida A&M University Marching Band

Sandra Jackson-Opoku (2022), Author

Black Exoduster experience in Kansas for her novel Black Rice

Paul Putz (2016), Baylor University

Western Negro Press Association

Crystal Sanders (2018), Pennsylvania State University

Out-of-state tuition grant programs instituted to prevent African American students from attending public universities, 1921-1948

Kristin Schodorf (2022), Little House on the Prairie Museum

Verlean Tidwell Family Papers, Black churches in and around Independence, Kansas

Sherri L. Smith (2020), Goddard College and Hamline University

United African American Aviators Project

Brandy Thomas Wells (2018), Augusta University

African-American women’s internationalism, 1890-1970

Derrick E. White (2019), Dartmouth College

Ball and Parlay: Black Culture and Black College, Dr. William P. Foster and the Florida A&M University Marching Band

Jeffery Williams (2017), University of South Carolina

Topeka, Kansas, civil rights lawyer Charles S. Scott

Janta Travel Award

Giacomo Mariani (2022), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

The Graziani Archive: A Virtual Reassembling of a Divided Archive

Massimo Moretti (2020), Sapienza University of Rome

Art and Diplomacy in the Europe of the Counter-Reformation: The Archive of A. M. Graziani

Spencer Travel Award

Richard Branscomb (2020), Carnegie Mellon University

Defending the Self, Preserving Community: Paramilitarization and the Radical Right

John A. Carranza (2020), University of Texas at Austin

Explaining Sex: Sex Education and Disability in the United States from the 1960s to the 1990s

Paul Hutchinson (2023), University of Bristol, United Kingdom

"Every Damn One of ’Em’s Got a Little Piece of Land in His Head": Masculinity and Ecological Crisis in the Dust Bowl

Bethan Johnson (2023), Harvard University

Alpha: James Mason and His Lone Wolf Army’s War on the World

Stephen Karian (2020), University of Missouri

The Oxford Edition of Alexander Pope’s Miscellany Poems

Christina Lord (2023), University of North Carolina Wilmington

From French Comics to "Star Wars": Trans-Atlantic Visual Culture in Science Fiction

Samantha McLoughlin (2022), Florida State University

“I’d Like to Thank My Husband for His Permission to Be Here”: How Phyllis Schlafly Successfully Organized Equal Rights Amendment Opposition

Chelsea Reutcke (2022), University of St Andrews, Scotland

Catholic Print Networks in Restoration England

Daniel Ruggles (2023), Brandeis University

Conservative Student Organizations and the American Right, 1960-Present

Sean Scanlon (2019), University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Conservative Evangelical Christians, Israel, and U.S. foreign policy

Elle Schneider (2022), Director and Cinematographer

Why Study Industrial Film? The Story of Centron Corporation

Kitty Shropshire (2019), Carnegie Mellon University

American Apocalypse: White Nationalism, Race War, and the Media

Sarah Anne Storti (2019), University of Virginia

English poet and novelist Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L.E.L.)

Travel Award Contacts

Whayne Travel Award

Phil Cunningham

Kansas Collection Curator


Janta Travel Award

Eve Wolynes

Special Collections Curator


Spencer Travel Award

Beth M. Whittaker

Associate Dean for Distinctive Collections

Director of Spencer Research Library


Related Links

Other Funding Opportunities

The University of Kansas, specifically Spencer Research Library and the Clendening Library at the KU Medical Center, is a member institution of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. The Consortium offers multiple fellowship opportunities each year.