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John Emmerson Research Fellowship

The John Emmerson Research Fellowship allows research for a project on England in the early modern period. You'll have access to the John Emmerson Collection, which comprises more than 5000 books and pamphlets from the 15th to 18th centuries.

Artists research a project on England in the early modern period using the John Emmerson Collection. The Collection contains more than 5,000 books and pamphlets from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

Explore the Collection in Beyond the Book: A digital journey through the treasures of the Emmerson Collection.

The fellowship includes:

  • $15,000 funding
  • desk space at the Library for 12 months
  • access to collections and Library staff expertise.

The funding is based on 3 months of work in the Library, either continuous or broken up over the year.

2024 recipient

Dr Ruby Lowe – The Affects of Democracy: George Wither in Australia

Ruby will use her expertise in book history, bibliography, and paleography to explore the 17th-century poet George Wither (1588 to 1667). She will look at how he used poetry, prose, and emblems to chronicle the effects of the political and media revolutions that swept through Britain during his life. Her project will focus on academic publication and a series of live events based on 17th-century pamphlets.

Ruby Lowe is a scholar of popular print culture and poetry in the 17th-century Atlantic world. She also works on the contemporary Australian Aboriginal novel. Her PhD is from New York University, and she has held research fellowships at The Shakespeare Folger Library, NYU London, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley.

About John Emmerson and his collection

This fellowship is sponsored by a generous bequest from John Emmerson.

John McLaren Emmerson QC (1938 to 2014) was a bibliophile and scholar who had careers as both an Oxford physicist and a Melbourne barrister. His collection, which took over 40 years to form, is one of the world's largest collections of rare English printed works. It has a particular emphasis on the reign of King Charles I and the English Civil War, fought during the 1640s.

Its significance lies not just in the quantity and quality of the books, but also in the important provenance of items, including works originally owned by prominent figures during Charles I's reign.

John Emmerson's family donated the collection to the State Library in 2015.